House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would support a ban on Russian oil imports, aligning herself with bipartisan lawmakers pushing for energy independence.
“I’m all for that,” Pelosi told reporters during a briefing Thursday. “Ban it.”
Several bicameral Republicans and centrist Democrats have advocated for the Biden administration to impose a sweeping ban on Russian oil and petroleum imports in the wake of the Ukraine crisis. Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered troops to invade Ukraine on Feb. 21, leading to widespread condemnation from global leaders.
Lawmakers have argued that U.S. dependence on Russian oil and petroleum products places the country at a strategic disadvantage. The U.S. imported more than 670,000 barrels of oil per day from Russia in 2021, U.S. Energy Information Administration data showed.
“I am calling on the Administration and industry partners to take action immediately, up to and including banning crude oil imports from Russia,” Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, the chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said in a statement on Monday.
Republican Rep. Tom Cole and Republican Sens. Jerry Moran and Roger Marshall asked President Joe Biden to halt Russian oil imports in a letter on Tuesday. Republican Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton has also joined in on calls for a ban.
While, the White House has announced a series of economic sanctions on Russia’s economy and its powerful oligarchs close to Putin, it has stopped short of imposing restrictions on its fossil fuel industry. The administration has argued that such sanctions would harm American and European consumers more than the Russian economy.
“The United States and our Allies and partners do not have a strategic interest in reducing the global supply of energy – which is why we have carved out energy payments from our financial sanctions,” a White House fact sheet published Wednesday stated.
Russia’s federal government relies upon its oil and gas industry to fund a whopping 40% of its annual budget.
Oil prices have skyrocketed to their highest level in a decade in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as the threat of indirect impacts of sanctions have roiled markets. Big Oil corporations have also pulled out of lucrative drilling and exploration ventures throughout Russia.