Rep. Glenn Grothman, one of eight representatives voting against a measure to suspend normal trade relations with Russia and Belarus in the wake of the hostilities in Ukraine, said Wednesday on Newsmax he opposed the measure because President Joe Biden had slid other unrelated human rights issues into it.
The Wisconsin Republican explained on Newsmax's "National Report" that the proposal, an expansion of the Global Magnitsky Act, would allow the president to freeze foreign assets or deny visas, but also expanded the criteria to include abuses of "whatever President Biden wants to define as human rights" into it.
This would include violations of LGBTQ rights or even "the right to have an abortion," said Grothman. "I think it's appalling that President Biden, in such a significant piece of legislation, would try to slide something in there allowing him to punish foreign officials who are not with them enough on LGBTQ issues."
In a statement earlier this month, Grossman called the human rights measure a "power-grabbing amendment."
"Within the bill to suspend normal trade relations with Russia, House leadership included provisions that would significantly change the purpose of the Magnitsky Act by removing definitions of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights in favor of more vague language," said Grothman in the statement.
"This revised version of the Magnitsky Act would broaden the power of the President and leave open the possibility of the U.S. government weaponizing our vast financial wealth to threaten foreign officials that hold traditional views on life or marriage in the form of the confiscation of assets or the denial of visas," he said, adding that the amendment would allow the president to threaten other countries to "turn on their Christian heritage and change their laws to align with the views of the current White House stands in direct opposition to America’s support for the advancement of human rights and freedom on the world stage."
"People in Africa, people in Eastern Europe, people in Latin America, are getting tired of the United States pushing them around with our American, I guess I'll call it, anti-Christian agenda," said Grothman.
He said he does think that it's good to have sanctions against Russia, but he believes the American public "hates it when you get something unrelated to the general purpose of the bill, and try to shove it through."
"I know right now there are senators who are trying to actively take that provision out of the bill, and I hope they succeed," he said. "I suspect they will succeed. It is ridiculous for President Biden and the Democrats to insist on these unrelated provisions, which I believe will be used to punish officials of more traditional morality."
In other matters, Grothman, along with other House Republicans, has introduced a resolution to remove Vice President Kamala Harris from her role as "border czar."
"We cannot lose sight of the fact that every month, depending on the month, 70,000 to 100,000 people are crossing the border who we have not appropriately vetted," said Grothman.
He added that Harris is acting in an "insubordinate" way toward Biden.
"Kamala Harris is really thumbing her nose at Joe Biden, saying, I'm not going to get involved in there, even though you appointed me the border czar," Grothman said. "The least president Biden can do is admit what a bad pick Kamala Harris was. She's insubordinate. If he's going to be president, he cannot tolerate that type of behavior she has displayed at the border."
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