The U.S. House on December 3 passed a resolution disapproving of “Russia’s inclusion in future Group of Seven summits” until that country ends “its occupation of all of Ukraine’s sovereign territory, including Crimea, and halts its attacks on democracies worldwide.”
The measure easily surpassed the two-thirds vote needed under a suspension of usual House rules, with all 222 Democrats present and 116 Republicans supporting it (roll call). Iowa’s three Democratic members–Abby Finkenauer (IA-01), Dave Loebsack (IA-02), and Cindy Axne (IA-03)–all supported the measure. But U.S. Representative Steve King (IA-04) was among 71 House Republicans who voted no.
New Jersey Democrat Albio Sires introduced the resolution in August, shortly after President Donald Trump said Russia should be invited to participate in next year’s summit involving the world’s seven largest “advanced economies.” The G7 expanded to become the G8 in the late 1990s, as a gesture of support for reforms happening in post-Soviet Russia. But the G8 suspended Russia in 2014, following the Russian occupation of Ukrainian territory in Crimea.
The Sires resolution should not have been controversial. The House Foreign Affairs Committee unanimously approved it. Juliegrace Brufke covered the December 3 debate and floor vote for The Hill.
House Committee on Foreign Affairs Ranking Member Mike McCaul (R-Texas) praised Sires’ work on the measure.
“As stated in this resolution, Russia should be not be readmitted to the Group of Seven until Putin respects the principles shared by the other members, relinquishes his chokehold over Crimea, and ceases his global attacks on democratic institutions. Maintaining the integrity of the Group of Seven is vital to the Group’s success, and Russia cannot be allowed to bully its way back in,” he said on the floor ahead of the vote.
Staff for King did not respond to Bleeding Heartland’s inquiry: why didn’t he support the resolution? Does King consider Crimea to be part of Russia or Ukraine’s sovereign territory?
I will update this post as needed if I hear back.
Appendix: Full text of House Resolution 546, which the U.S. House approved on December 3
Disapproving the Russian Federation’s inclusion in future Group of Seven summits until it respects the territorial integrity of its neighbors and adheres to the standards of democratic societies.
Whereas, in 2014, Russia illegally occupied Ukraine’s Crimea region and parts of eastern Ukraine;
Whereas these actions are in direct violation of fundamental principles of international law, as well as the United Nations Charter, the Helsinki Final Act, and the 1994 Budapest Memorandum;
Whereas, in 1998, the Group of Seven invited Russia to join the group in an effort to encourage continued political and economic reforms in Russia;
Whereas, in March 2014, the Group of Eight suspended Russia as a direct result of its actions in Ukraine, and instead continued as the Group of Seven;
Whereas, on April 3, 2014, President Barack Obama signed into law the Support for the Sovereignty, Integrity, Democracy, and Economic Stability of Ukraine Act of 2014, which states that “it is the policy of the United States that the continued participation of the Russian Federation in the Group of Eight (G–8) nations should be conditioned on the Government of the Russian Federation respecting the territorial integrity of its neighbors and accepting and adhering to the norms and standards of free, democratic societies as generally practiced by every other member nation of the G–8 nations.”;
Whereas, since 2014, the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, has continued to violate international law in Ukraine’s Crimea region and elsewhere, and has continued to undermine democracy and human rights both at home and abroad; and
Whereas, on August 26, 2019, President Donald Trump, announced his intention to invite the President of Russia to next year’s Group of Seven summit: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the House of Representatives—
(1) reiterates its unwavering support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine;
(2) condemns Russia’s aggressive actions in Ukraine, including the illegal occupation of Crimea and ongoing destabilization of eastern Ukraine;
(3) condemns the Kremlin’s assaults on democratic societies worldwide, including in the United States and other Group of Seven countries;
(4) reaffirms its full support for the suspension of Russia from the Group of Eight;
(5) calls on all leaders of the Group of Seven to oppose the readmission of Russia unless and until it has ended its occupation of all of Ukraine’s sovereign territory, including Crimea, and halts its attacks on democracies worldwide; and
(6) disapproves of Russia’s inclusion in future Group of Seven summits until it respects the territorial integrity of its neighbors and adheres to the standards of democratic societies.