In a refreshing bipartisan deal, both aisles of Congress agreed to a bill banning Russian oil imports. This will likely force President Joe Biden from making a stand, given his seeming reluctance to issue an order himself.
Lawmakers hope that Biden, who has yet to commit his support, will sign the legislation.
Bipartisan Bill to Ban Russian Oil Imports
On Monday, the leaders of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee announced they struck a bipartisan deal.
The two groups agreed to pass legislation banning the import of Russian oil. However, President Joe Biden has yet to commit to signing the bill.
Russia is currently facing a host of economic sanctions for invading Ukraine. These include banning Russia from international banking systems and seizing assets owned by Russian oligarchs.
However, the West remains wary of including oil and gas exports by Russia. The country is the second largest exporter of oil in the world.
Europeans Dependent on Russian Oil Imports
According to White House Press Secretary Jan Psaki, the president remains undecided over the Russian oil imports ban. She confirmed that discussions are ongoing internally with partners.
She also confirmed that talks of banning Russian oil imports were part of the earlier agenda with European officials. European countries are much more dependent on Russian oil imports compared to the US.
Meanwhile, the US Congress remains bent on imposing a ban on Russian oil imports. Lawmakers are also calling to suspend normal trade relations with Russia and its ally, Belarus.
The bill provides Biden the power to further increase tariffs on products from those two countries. It also contains a measure requiring the US Trade Representative to ask the World Trade Organization to suspend Russia.
‘War Is Unacceptable’
The four main proponents of the bill include two Republicans and two Democrats. They include House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) and Ranking Member Kevin Brady (R-TX).
The remaining two are Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-ID).
In a joint statement, the four lawmakers emphasized the US’s commitment to rejecting the war in Ukraine. “Taking these actions will send a clear message to Putin that his war is unacceptable and the United States stands firmly with our NATO allies.”
However, it remains unclear if Biden will go along with the bill. The president is facing mounting pressure to keep the pressure on Russia.
Even members of his own party want Biden to impose more sanctions against Moscow. This includes banning Russian oil imports.
However, removing Russia from the world’s exporters of oil means even scarcer supplies. Unless they find a new source, fuel prices will continue to rise.
Watch the TODAY video reporting that the Biden Administration is under pressure to ban Russian oil imports:
Do you think Biden will sign the bill banning Russian oil imports? Will the President finally take charge and make a critical decision?
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