(CNSNews.com) – In the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, many members of Congress support prohibiting the importation of Russian petroleum products, such as oil and natural gas, into the United States.
On March 3, Senators Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) hosted a press conference at the Capitol, where they proposed legislation to ban Russian oil imports to the United States.
Also on March 3, A CNN reporter asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), “There’s been a push by some Democrats to ban the import of Russian oil. I believe that Senators Manchin and Murkowski are going to put forth a bill on that today. Where do you stand?”
Pelosi said, “I’m all for that. Ban it. Ban the oil coming from Russia, yep.”
Other senators on both sides of the political aisle stand in favor of this prohibition. Some are Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn. ), Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), Sen. Bill Haggerty (R-Tenn.) and Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa)
At the U.S. Capitol last week, CNSNews.com asked lawmakers, “Should the United States prohibit petroleum imports from Russia and if not why not?”
Sen. Jon Tester told CNSNews.com, “Well, I think they should. Like I said, like I just told the last reporter, I don’t know why we aren’t. There must be some reason why we haven’t and I don’t know what that reason could be because it’s obvious we should.”
Sen. Richard Blumenthal said, “I think we should.”
Sen. Ben Cardin said, “I think we should, I’m for that. I want to do it in an orderly way, but I’m for that.”
Sen. Ted Cruz said, “I think we need to stand up to Russia using every tool we have, including targeting their energy industry. One of the most indefensible decisions Joe Biden made was waiving sanctions on Nord Stream 2, the Russian pipeline, from Russia to Germany. I authored those bipartisan sanctions, they stopped the pipeline and prevented an invasion of Ukraine, and Biden chose to unilaterally surrender to Putin which caused the war in Europe we’re seeing right now.”
“Even today the sanctions announced by the Biden administration inexplicably excludes energy,” Sen, Cruz continued. “Oil and gas sales are the principle source of revenue for Putin that he is using to fund this war and the Biden administration continues to give Putin a green light to carry out his acts of aggression.”
Sen. Bill Hagerty said, “The answer is yes, but we should do it concurrent with reopening production here in America. We should reopen the Keystone XL pipeline, we should grant access to federal lands for drilling, we should become energy independent again and that would make it very easy for us to do exactly as you suggest."
“It would send a strong message to the world,” said Hagerty. “It would have a deflationary impact on the American economy, and we would be in a position, yet again, to come to the aid of our allies. We’re not there now, thanks to the shortsighted, myopic policies of this administration.”
Sen. Joni Ernst told CNS News, “Yes, we should. I agree wholeheartedly. We should not be allowing Russian oil to come in especially during these -- any time really -- but especially during these troubling times.”
Some senators believe that the revenue from the importation of Russian oil helps fund the invasion of Ukraine and hurts the Ukrainian people, and that the reliance upon other countries for energy recourses hurts the U.S. economy.
The U.S. trade deficit with Russia in 2021, reported by the Census Bureau, was the second largest at $23,306,800,000 compared to 2011 which was $26,300,600,000. The number one import from Russia to the United States in 2021 was fuel oil at $10,265, 587, 048 and the second was crude oil at $4,714, 801, 618.