Following an executive order signed Tuesday by President Joe Biden to ban the imports of Russian oil, liquefied natural gas, and coal to the United States, the House has overwhelmingly voted to move the E.O. closer to becoming law.
In a 414-17 vote Wednesday night, lawmakers passed the bill, which calls into question Russia’s status in the World Trade Organization and opens the door to sanctions on Russian officials for human rights violations, despite acknowledging that it will certainly lead to higher prices at our nation’s already expensive gas pumps.
“It is one way to demonstrate our solidarity,” said co-author of the bill Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX).
“The legislation in many ways is symbolic,” according to the Associated Press, “since Biden has already announced the Russian oil ban. But the legislative push sets up the next showdown over Russia’s trade status as Congress presses for restrictions on other imports from Russia that the administration has so far resisted.”
For many, the bill didn’t go far enough. In its original form, it would have “suspended permanent normal trade relations for Russia and Belarus,” according to CNN, but it was reportedly toned down amid fears from the Biden administration that such a move would have too many negative consequences.
Said Republican ranking member of the House Ways and Means panel, Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) of the watered-down bill, “I thought revoking (permanent normal trade relations) was a very strong sanction, and I was very disappointed that was dropped from the bill.”
Democrats Rep. Cori Bush (MO) and Rep. Ilhan Omar (MN) joined 14 Republicans in voting against the bill — a move that sparked immediate attention on Twitter from both their opponents and supporters of the Progressive Squad.
Bush and Omar voted understand that dismal 3% oil sanction is a small gesture when it comes to foreign policy but it’s big enough to spook the oil markets and shoot gas prices up.
They were thinking about their constituents when they voted no. https://t.co/B8T2avkdHM
— Joshua (@HeyJoFo) March 10, 2022
Ilhan Omar, voting against a ban on Russian oil: "And I think ultimately, this is not going to end well for the actual people of Russia…"
— The Canning Underground (@tashahuebner) March 10, 2022
Ilhan Omar voted against a ban on Russian oil
Is there no one else to vote for in the 5th district of #Minnesota?
— Penny (@maf7825) March 10, 2022
The House just voted on a bipartisan basis to pass a ban on importing Russian oil, nat gas, & coal into the US. Final vote was 414-17, with 2 Dems – Cori Bush & Ilhan Omar being useful idiots of Russia & voting no. They should be ashamed.
— HawaiiDelilah™ stands with Ukraine (@HawaiiDelilah) March 10, 2022
Rep. Omar votes against Russian oil ban, citing need for magical sanctions that only impact Putin specifically … https://t.co/g19y1vjybR
— Brian K. Elder (@BrianKElder) March 10, 2022
Her opposition to the bill is its impact on the people of Europe and Russia. She stated:
"When we're having these conversations, they can't be about just the immediate, gratifying response that we want to come up with." Good for her.https://t.co/L0hMDaFJM1
— Andrea – Route 66 – 8pm – 3/30 (@andreafromslc) March 10, 2022
Enough said! https://t.co/nRrN0C7h5s
— Sassy Camel Co ™️🐪💋 (@sassycamelco) March 10, 2022
While many are urging President Biden to loosen regulations and reopen the pipe lines that allowed the United States to be energy independent just a year ago, Biden insists that won’t help Americans at the pumps nearly as much as green energy will.
“Loosening environmental regulations won’t lower prices,” the president tweeted Tuesday. “But transforming our economy to run on electric vehicles, powered by clean energy, will mean that no one will have to worry about gas prices. It will mean tyrants like Putin won’t be able to use fossil fuels as a weapon.”
Loosening environmental regulations won’t lower prices.
But transforming our economy to run on electric vehicles, powered by clean energy, will mean that no one will have to worry about gas prices.
It will mean tyrants like Putin won’t be able to use fossil fuels as a weapon.
— President Biden (@POTUS) March 9, 2022
Said White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Wednesday, the unpredictable rise in gas prices were not the fault of the Biden administration’s policies, but that of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Events in the world, including the invasion by Russia of a foreign country, does prompt instability and volatility in the global oil markets,” Psaki told White House reporter Peter Doocy. “And there are all sorts of different issues that can impact that,” she continued. “That’s what we’re seeing now. ”
“If President Putin’s buildup of military troops is leading to volatility and an increase in oil and prices, hence, you have a Putin pump gas price pump,” she added.
At Wednesday's White House briefing, Press Secretary Jen Psaki was challenged as the administration continues to blame Russia for the skyrocketing gas prices.
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) March 9, 2022
But House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy isn’t buying it.
“Democrats want you to believe gas prices are only spiking because of the Russian oil ban,” McCarthy tweeted Wednesday. “But the fact is prices have been climbing since the day President Biden was sworn in.”
Democrats want you to believe gas prices are only spiking because of the Russian oil ban. But the fact is prices have been climbing since the day President Biden was sworn in.
I bring receipts. pic.twitter.com/1bwwqZsrcz
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) March 9, 2022
Also on Wednesday, McCarthy, who represents California’s 23rd district, sent a letter to California Governor Gavin Newsom, “urging him to take immediate steps to undo his anti-oil and natural gas policies in order to increase production of California energy resources to help stabilize prices at the pump and reduce California’s importation of Russian crude oil,” according to a press release on Rep. McCarthy’s website.
The letter reads, in part: “Your Administration has the ability to harness California’s vast energy resources to help our sate and country achieve energy independence and I implore you to reverse policies you have advanced that harm California-based oil and natural gas producers’ ability to meed our nation’s energy needs and strengthen our national security.”
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