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US Will Ban Russian Oil & Gas Imports, End Trade Relations with Moscow and Belarus

The United States is effectively reimplimenting Cold War era restrictions on Russian oil and gas imports, as well as ending trade relations with the Eurasian country.

“A bipartisan group of lawmakers said on Monday that they would move forward with legislation that would ban imports of Russian energy into the United States and suspend normal trade relations with Russia and Belarus in response to the invasion of Ukraine,” the New York Times reported.

“The legislation is aimed at inflicting further financial pain on Russia and Belarus, which has been aiding the conflict, by cutting off Russia’s oil exports into the United States and giving President Biden the ability to increase tariffs on products from both countries,” the report added.

“The bipartisan agreement to cut off oil imports adds to growing pressure on Mr. Biden to shut the spigot,” the report continued. “Although the United States imports just 7 percent of its oil from Russia, the administration has so far avoided banning imports, in part because of worries that it would further accelerate already-high gas prices. Russia and Belarus are minor trading partners of the United States, though they supply some materials that are crucial for certain industries, including platinum, iron and fertilizer.”

“On Sunday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the United States was considering a ban on Russian oil imports, sending oil prices higher,” the Times added.

“Taking these actions will send a clear message to (Russian President Vladimir) Putin that his war is unacceptable and the United States stands firmly with our NATO allies,” the lawmakers said.

“Leading lawmakers on trade issues reached a deal Monday on legislation that would ban the import of Russian oil and energy products into the US and suspend normal trade relations with Moscow, amid indications the administration is willing to go along,” the Daily Mail noted.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was pressed on the matter on Monday, noting that a bill has not yet been sent over from Congress.

“The president has not made a decision at this point in time. So that’s where we stand. Is a bill on its way over here that’s passed Congress? I don’t think so,” she snapped.

That is almost certain to happen soon. Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) discussed the ramifications of the forthcoming oil and gas ban on U.S.-Russia trade relations on Fox News with host Maria Bartiromo.

“Congress is moving ahead, I expect bipartisan legislation to be introduced very soon, as early as today, that would both ban Russian imports of energy to America and would suspend normal trading relations both with Russia and Belarus,” Brady said.

The Biden administration is also weighing overtures to foreign petrodictatorships to import more oil, amid executive policies against the completion of the Keystone XL pipeline to import from Canada, as well as limitations on federal oil and gas leases.

“President Biden’s advisers are discussing a possible visit to Saudi Arabia this spring to help repair relations and convince the Kingdom to pump more oil,” Axios reported.

Axios also noted that “Biden officials are in Venezuela this weekend to meet with the government of President Nicolás Maduro… Some Republicans and Democrats in Washington suggest Venezuela’s oil could replace Russia’s, according to the New York Times.”

The Biden administration is thus preparing to make up the shortfall that would come from a halt on Russian energy imports. The administration has also released 30 million barrels from the strategic oil reserve — but such reserves would last a mere matter of days.

The Biden administration’s tough talk on Russia, as well as its simultaneous aid to Ukraine, has painted it into a corner. Backing Democratic Congress members up for election on cutting off Russian energy imports is thus all-but-guaranteed. The skyrocketing oil and gas prices also puts more pressure on the Democratic Party ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.

“The national average price for a gallon of gasoline has topped $4 in the US for the first time since 2008,” the New York Post reported. The Russian oil and gas ban will only drive the prices higher in the absense of an increase in domestic production.

On Monday, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg addressed surging gas prices in the United States by telling Americans they should buy an electric car.


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