President Joe Biden has shown that he isn’t all that serious about holding Russia accountable for its unprovoked attack on Ukraine.
Biden steadfastly refuses to impose sanctions on Russian oil sales, or even stop the U.S. from buying more than 500,000 barrels a day from Vladimir Putin. The U.S. president also wants Russia’s help brokering a deal with Iran on the acquisition of nuclear weapons.
A few Republican senators, including two from Florida, are trying to force Biden’s hand on one of those things.
Florida Sen. Rick Scott, joined by Kansas GOP Sen. Roger Marshall, recently introduced a bill to block the U.S. from buying Russian oil.
The three-page bill states that “the aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine warrants taking action.” And that action would be prohibiting “the importation of petroleum and petroleum products from the Russian Federation.”
Under the bill, the ban would take effect 15 days after it becomes law.
Biden, Scott said in a statement, “has spent the last year driving America backward—it’s time to make American oil and our energy independence a priority.”
“His administration must immediately roll back its failed Green New Deal policies, take action to boost U.S. energy production and independence, and stop the purchase of oil and other energy resources from Russia. We can no longer do business with Vladimir Putin and his thugs which is why I am urging my colleagues to stand up in the face of brutality and pass this critical legislation immediately,” Scott added.
In his own statement, Sen. Marco Rubio said, “It was never a good idea to scale back on domestic energy production, and spiking gas prices amid Putin’s invasion of Ukraine should make that blatantly obvious.”
“The United States.” Rubio continued, “has to revitalize domestic energy production immediately and stop importing oil from a country that is financing its war crimes with revenues from petroleum products.”
Besides Marshall, the other lawmakers who joined Scott and Rubio included Sens. John Barrasso, Jerry Moran, Kevin Cramer, Chuck Grassley, John Hoeven, and John Cornyn.
In addition to seeking to block U.S. purchases of Russian oil, the senators have drawn up a plan to kickstart America’s energy industry.
Its provisions include: immediately restarting the Keystone XL pipeline; stripping regulations hobbling America’s energy producers; boosting natural gas exports to European allies and other global partners; shoring up oil and gas producers in the credit markets by blocking Sarah Raskin, Biden’s nominee to the Federal Reserve; encouraging reducing regulatory barriers to natural gas pipeline approvals, and instructing the Department of the Interior to permit new oil and gas leases on public lands.