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Bipartisan pressure building on Biden to cut off Russian oil imports, expand U.S. production

On Friday, a bipartisan group of 18 senators introduced a bill to cease oil imports from Russia and boost domestic production to offset the lost supply.

Published: March 4, 2022 5:40pm

Updated: March 4, 2022 10:44pm

West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin and Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski are calling on the Biden administration to support legislation that would cut off oil imports from Russia and expand domestic oil production in the U.S. 

The American Petroleum Institute wants to increase oil production in the U.S. as well, but a Biden administration committed to phasing out fossil fuels has resisted. 

"API shares the goal of reducing reliance on foreign energy sources and is committed to working with the administration and Congress as they respond to Russia's unprovoked aggression and defend Ukraine's sovereignty," said API SVP of Policy, Economics and Regulatory Affairs Frank Macchiarola.

"Our industry has taken significant and meaningful steps to unwind relationships, both with respect to assets in Russia, as well as imports of Russian crude oil and refined products," he added. "We urge policymakers to advance American energy leadership and expand domestic production to counter Russia's influence in global energy markets and ensure energy security here in the U.S. and for our allies around the world."

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has said that the White House doesn't have a "strategic interest in reducing the global supply of energy, and that would raise prices at the gas pump for the American people.”

Addressing Psaki's comments, Manchin said the White House is “so wrong" on the issue of domestic oil production and Russian oil imports.

Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins is one of a bipartisan group of 18 senators joining Manchin and Murkowski in introducing a bill to cease oil imports from Russia and boost domestic production to offset the lost supply. "The crisis in Ukraine has also underscored the need for the U.S. and Europe to increase our energy independence in order to strengthen our national security and deter ruthless autocrats who are on the march around the globe," she said.

"Strengthening our energy independence from enemies like Russia has to be a top priority as we unite to confront Putin's unprovoked war on Ukraine," said Montana Democratic Sen. Jon Tester.

"Banning Russian oil and gas imports will hit Putin where it hurts," he continued, "our best response to rising gas prices should be increasing our domestic energy production from all sources and increasing trade with our allies, not buying from dictators who are actively invading sovereign nations. This critical step isolates and weakens Putin and the oligarchs who prop him up."

Arizona Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly vowed to "continue working to increase domestic energy production and take additional steps so that American families don't bear the cost of this conflict and have reliable, affordable energy options."

Texas Rep. Mike McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the U.S. is "funding Putin's war machine" by continuing Russian oil imports. 

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