Democrats urge crackdown on UAE, Saudis after OPEC cuts oil production ahead of US elections

Reps. Tom Malinowski, Susan Wild and Sean Casten have proposed a bill that would remove U.S. troops from the UAE and remove missile defense systems from Saudi Arabia.

Published: October 6, 2022 1:27pm

Updated: October 6, 2022 11:28pm

OPEC's decision to cut oil production ahead of the Nov. 8 midterm elections has angered Democrats and prompted the White House and lawmakers to find a way to respond.

President Biden said he was disappointed by the decision to cut 2 million barrels each day.

"Disappointment, and we're looking at what alternatives we may have," he said before leaving the White House on Thursday. 

Biden was asked about the state of his relationship with the Saudis and if he regrets his trip there.
"No, the trip was not essentially for oil," he said. "The trip was about the Middle East and about Israel and rationalization of positions. But it is a disappointment, and it says that there are problems."

OPEC said in a formal statement that "the decision to cut stemmed from the uncertainty that surrounds the global economic and oil market outlook."

In response to the decision, Reps. Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.), Susan Wild (D-Pa.) and Sean Casten (D-Ill.) proposed a bill that would remove missile defense systems from Saudi Arabia and U.S. troops from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

"If Saudi Arabia and the UAE want to help Putin keep oil prices high, they should look to him for their defense," Malinowski said. 

Illinois Democratic Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi suggested that Biden should invoke the Defense Production Act as a way to increase production.

On the Senate side, Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent who caucuses with the Democrats, said the U.S. should "end OPEC's illegal price-fixing cartel, eliminate military assistance to Saudi Arabia and move aggressively to renewable energy."

He described the move as a "blatant attempt to increase gas prices at the pump that cannot stand."

Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin also expressed frustration with the decision.

"The royal Saudi family has never been a trustworthy ally of our nation," he said. "It's time for our foreign policy to imagine a world without their alliance."

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