WASHINGTON — Senior congressional Democrats and Republicans on Monday announced they had reached a deal on a bill that would punish Russia for invading Ukraine, as they seek to ban U.S. imports of Russian oil while further empowering President Biden to impose tariffs on the country’s products.

The announcement evinced the vast and fast-moving flurry of legislative activity on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers have looked to couple their penalties on the Kremlin with a related push to bolster Ukraine with billions of dollars in humanitarian, military and economic assistance.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., arrives at her weekly news conference on Capitol Hill on Thursday. Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post

In seeking to inflict pain on Russia, however, the U.S. strategy threatened to have wider economic consequences. The Dow Jones industrial average closed down around 800 points on Monday, a drop of about 2.4 percent, as the war unleashed another tumultuous day of trading on Wall Street. The tech-heavy Nasdaq fell around 480 points, or 3.6 percent.

Oil and gas prices also remained high, with the national, per-gallon average at the pump exceeding $4, according to AAA. The tracking service GasBuddy, meanwhile, estimated Monday that prices actually broke the existing U.S. record set in 2008.

It is unclear how the newly proposed U.S. ban on Russian crude might affect the global economy. But the prospect for further disruption prompted top officials in the Biden administration and leading lawmakers in Congress to acknowledge the possible burden – and begin to explore ways that they might spare American families from bearing any additional costs.

“I would note that what the president is most focused on is ensuring we are continuing to take steps to deliver punishing economic consequences on (Russian President Vladimir) Putin, while taking all action necessary to limit the impact to prices at the gas pump,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at her daily briefing Monday.

Unveiled by a quartet of tax and trade-focused policymakers on Capitol Hill, the new bipartisan agreement would limit Russian energy imports, suspend normal trade relations between the United States and the Kremlin and task the Biden administration to seek Russia’s suspension from the World Trade Organization. The trade penalties would also apply to Belarus, a key Russian ally in the Ukrainian conflict, according to the four members of Congress who crafted the deal.

“As Russia continues its unprovoked attack on the Ukrainian people, we have agreed on a legislative path forward to ban the import of energy products from Russia and to suspend normal trade relations with both Russia and Belarus,” they said in a joint, bipartisan statement.

“Taking these actions will send a clear message to Putin that his war is unacceptable and the United States stands firmly with our NATO allies,” they continued, adding that Congress still needs to “do more.”

Signing the statement were Reps. Richard Neal, D-Mass., and Kevin Brady, R-Texas, the top lawmakers on the House Ways and Means Committee, and Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, who oversee the Senate Finance Committee. The lawmakers did not share the full text of their plan.

In the meantime, another group of Democrats and Republicans forged ahead on a package that might deliver on Biden’s request for $10 billion in Ukrainian aid. Lawmakers hope to append the money to a broader package to fund the U.S. government’s continued operations. A current spending agreement is set to expire at the end of the week, meaning inaction on the matter could shut down key agencies and programs while imperiling Washington’s response to the conflict abroad.

In a letter to Democrats, sent early Monday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., offered an update on those talks: He said his party had made a “reasonable” offer to Republicans on a longer-term spending deal that accomplishes both tasks. Reflecting on its prospects, Schumer sounded an optimistic note, expressing his “hope that we will reach an agreement very soon.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., similarly pledged swift action in her own note late Sunday, while teasing additional action to come, as the House is exploring “strong legislation that will further isolate Russia.”

The activity on Capitol Hill arrived just days after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivered a direct plea to Congress. He asked for aid, including the provision of additional military equipment, which some lawmakers from both parties support. And Zelensky reiterated his calls for a no-fly zone, which Washington has rejected, as officials fear it could draw the United States into open conflict with another nuclear superpower.

The sum total of the new legislative efforts could come in addition to the punishing sanctions that the Biden administration has already imposed on the Kremlin and its wealthy, supportive elite. But the U.S. approach so far has not been without its financial fallout: The vast penalties levied by Washington and its allies against Russia have rattled economies globally, particularly in driving up the cost of gas. The potential for additional shocks prompted Democrats to stress this week that they also would forge ahead on a series of proposals that aim to ease Americans’ financial burdens.

“Our goal is to have the wages that have increased continue to go up and see costs go down so the average American has more money in their pocket,” Schumer told Democrats on Monday, noting party lawmakers would discuss some of the matters during a retreat scheduled this week.

The surge in gas prices has only compounded the country’s existing struggles with inflation, after federal data last month showed prices for rent, groceries, cars and other goods in January continued to jump at their fastest pace in roughly 40 years. With his party’s control of Congress on the line, Biden has committed to tackling inflation as a top priority, a promise made during his first State of the Union address last week.

Some of the nascent legislative efforts – including now-bipartisan Senate talks to lower the price of insulin and promote competition – correspond with elements of Biden’s long-stalled economic agenda. Democrats have dusted off the ideas from the president’s original proposal, known as Build Back Better, which faltered last year amid divisions within their own party.

Pelosi, meanwhile, stressed on Sunday that Congress and the Biden administration are attuned to the possibility that conflict abroad could ratchet up prices at home – and ready to act in response. She pointed to the recent release of millions of barrels of oil in the country’s strategic reserve, a move meant to ease the supply crunch that had driven up costs at the pump.

“Let me be clear: The United States need not choose between our democratic values and our economic interests,” she wrote in her letter. “The administration and the Congress remain laser-focused on bringing down the higher energy costs for American families and our partners stemming from Putin’s invasion.”

The concerns about prices initially prompted the White House to raise a skeptical eye at the idea of blocking imports of Russian oil, though top aides to the president in recent days have expressed openness to the idea as pressure mounts on Capitol Hill to act. Imported Russian crude accounts for only a small portion of the U.S. oil market, but a U.S. ban could still have significant economic effects domestically – especially if other countries in Europe approve similar blockades.

In the meantime, the immediate task facing lawmakers is to fund the government, which will run out of money once an existing short-term spending agreement expires after midnight Friday. Talks have progressed for weeks, and House leaders previously expressed hope they could vote on a package, known as an omnibus, as soon as Tuesday.

But they face no shortage of obstacles in finalizing the deal at a time when the clock is ticking – and the stakes are high. In recent days, Senate Republicans have threatened to slow down the Senate from acting ahead of the key fiscal deadline. One group has called for another vote on an attempt to defund federal policies requiring coronavirus vaccines and tests, despite public health guidance encouraging such rules. A second has sought a more thorough financial analysis of the spending bill, citing the effects of inflation.

The twin requests threaten to stall the narrowly divided Senate, which requires unanimity to speed up the debate process. It also could delay the prompt delivery of aid for Ukraine, even though Democrats and Republicans alike agree such sums should be disbursed quickly.

The Biden administration also has sought more than $22 billion to boost the country’s response to the coronavirus, arguing that more aid is needed to restock key public health programs in anticipation of a worsening pandemic. But Republicans have resisted the provision of this money, telling the White House last week they are not willing to support it unless they first see an accounting of the government’s existing spending.

Some GOP lawmakers have gone as far in talks as to demand Democrats supply financing for the new spending, including by repurposing billions of dollars set aside for cities and states to respond to the pandemic, according to two people familiar with the matter who requested anonymity to describe the conversations. The demand has raised the prospect that some or all of the aid may fall out of the deal as talks progress.

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