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Leading House Republican Sees Trade Vote in Fall if Obama Supports

U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor

Republican U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said the House of Representatives will take up a bill to normalize trade relations with Russia this fall if the Democratic-majority Senate and President Barack Obama "commit to support" passage before the end of September.

A top House Democrat said the trade bill would have strong support when it is brought up for a vote.

"We must work together to get Russia [Permanent Normal Trade Relations] done so American businesses aren't disadvantaged," said Representative Steny Hoyer, the second-ranking Democrat in the House. "I'm confident that when Republicans schedule the bill, it will pass the House with a strong majority."

Business groups hoped Congress would pass the legislation before Russia enters the World Trade Organization on Aug. 22. Otherwise, they said, there is a risk that U.S. businesses and farmers will not share in all the market-opening concessions Russia made to join the world trade body.

But Congress is taking a monthlong recess during August.

Cantor said late last week that when the House considers the Russia trade bill, it will include human rights provisions known as the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act.

Cantor also said the House would take up the measure under "suspension of the rules," meaning lawmakers could not amend it on the House floor.

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