Rand Paul delays Russia trade bill, warns against too broad sanctions power

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Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., iced the of the Senate swift passage of a bill to end trade with Russia, warning against language that could give presidents too broad sanctioning power under the Magnitsky Act.

The Kentucky Republican told Fox News Digital that the “original” version of the “Magnitsky Act authorized penalties against individuals who committed specific human rights violations such as torture, extrajudicial executions.”

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Senator Rand Paul speaks during a hearing of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions at the Dirksen Senate Office Building on July 20, 2021 in Washington, DC
(Stefani Reynolds – Pool/Getty Images)

“The new Magnitsky law does not define human rights abuses, and a president who says abortion is a human right could authorize sanctions against a person or country that denies abortion services “, continued Paul.

Paul’s concerns stem from certain terms of the bill that he says will give a US president broader power to sanction someone for human rights abuses under the Magnitsky Act.

A spokesperson for Paul told Fox News Digital that the senator is asking for a clarified definition to prevent President Biden or future presidents from being able to sanction anyone around the world.

Committee Chairman Senator Ron Wyden on Capitol Hill February 8, 2022 in Washington, DC
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Committee Chairman Senator Ron Wyden on Capitol Hill February 8, 2022 in Washington, DC
(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The senators were waiting for a quick passage of the bill depriving Russia of its commercial good graces with America before returning home.

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, told reporters Thursday that he still lives “by the theory that nothing in the Senate is easy.”

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Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., Arrives for a hearing of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions to review the federal response to review the federal response to COVID-19 and new emerging variants on January 11, 2022, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., Arrives for a hearing of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions to review the federal response to review the federal response to COVID-19 and new emerging variants on January 11, 2022, on Capitol Hill in Washington.
(GREG NASH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

“This is an area where the American people firmly believe … that Vladimir Putin has lost with his inhumane conduct the right to normal commercial relations,” Wyden said.

The bill in question was quickly passed by the House 424-8 before being blocked in the Senate.

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