House votes to punish ruling junta in Myanmar

July 15, 2008 11:44:03 AM PDT
The House has voted to to punish Myanmar's brutal ruling regime "where it hurts - in the wallet," as one lawmaker said. The unanimous vote sent back to the Senate a bill that bars rubies and jade from Myanmar from being imported into the U.S. The Senate bill, which passed in December, also sought to bar timber from Myanmar, called Burma by some.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Howard Berman said the legislation will put financial pressure on the ruling regime, which brutally cracked down on monks in the so-called Saffron Revolution last year. He said the 11,000-store Jewelers of America supports a ban on Burmese gem imports. Berman said that retailers like Tiffany's and Bulgari have also voluntarily made the ban their policy.