The White House is stopping short of banning all imports of Russian oil over the invasion of Ukraine, despite growing bipartisan calls from lawmakers who say Russian President Vladimir Putin depends on the oil revenues to keep the attacks going.
Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Thursday introduced legislation calling for a declaration of national emergency and to direct President Joe Biden to impose a ban on Russian oil imports, ABC News reported Friday.
Nine Republicans signed on as co-sponsors to Manchin’s proposal, along with a wide slate of Democrats. The White House hasn’t fully ruled out the possibility of banning oil imports from Russia, but press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday that Biden’s objective has been to “maximize impact” on Putin and Russia while “minimizing impact” to the United States and its allies and partners.
But several Democrats are joining in the call from Republicans for the imports to stop, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, even though she said she does not support increased oil and gas drilling on federal land.
Biden, however, already has the authority to ban the oil imports, even without a directive from Congress.
Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., who is backing the Manchin-Murkowski bill, said that Putin has “weaponized energy” and he does not think the United States should import anything from Russia, let alone oil.
“The fact of the matter is energy is something Putin depends upon for his finances, and he is depending on it to fight this war in Ukraine,” said Tester.
The White House’s reluctance comes in part from not wanting to make a move that will drive gas prices higher, but Manchin said Thursday that is a sacrifice Americans should be willing to make to help Ukraine. Continue reading at Newsmax.