U.S. Politican Vanik, 94, Dies
Published: September 4, 2007 (Issue # 1303)
CLEVELAND, Ohio — Former U.S. Representative Charles Vanik, who was a co-sponsor of the Jackson-Vanik amendment, a measure intended to force the Soviet Union to allow more Jews to emigrate, died last week at his home in Jupiter, Florida. He was 94.
His Aug. 30 death was announced by Mark Talisman, his former chief of staff. No cause of death was given. An often outspoken liberal Democratic congressman from Cleveland, Vanik served in Congress from 1955 to 1981. He held several other public offices, from Cleveland municipal judge to Ohio state senator.
In 1974, Vanik along with Senator Henry Jackson, Democrat from Washington who died in 1983, sponsored an amendment to the Trade Act of 1974, which President Gerald Ford signed into law. The amendment effectively denies unconditional normal trade relations to certain countries that had nonmarket economies and that restricted emigration rights.
In response, the Soviet Union allowed more freedom of emigration, particularly to Jews, who had faced official prejudice.
Emigration of Soviet Jews did increase in the years after the amendment passed, but slowed to a trickle in the 1980s and became a major source of friction between the United States and the Soviet Union.