Business & Lobbying

Conservative group urges GOP to couple Russian energy ban with reversing Biden policies

Oil rig in Oklahoma
AP/Sue Ogrocki, file

A conservative group is urging Republicans to oppose a ban on Russian energy imports unless it is paired with policies to reverse certain Biden administration domestic energy policies.

Heritage Action, a grassroots conservative advocacy group and the sister organization of the Heritage Foundation, argued banning Russian imports should only be done if Congress simultaneously enacts policies to promote domestic energy production.

“While decoupling from Russia and punishing them for their invasion of Ukraine should be a top priority for Congress, conservatives should demand that any Russian energy ban is coupled with an equally impactful set of measures to undo the damage of Biden’s America Last energy policy,” Heritage Action Executive Director Jessica Anderson said in a statement.

“Unleashing American energy production would shield working Americans from the effect of skyrocketing energy prices while also increasing our own national security,” she added. “Without those measures, an energy ban would hurt Americans more than Russians while doing little to affect the situation in Ukraine.”

The House last week passed a bill to end normal trade relations with Russia by an overwhelming majority. But the same bill was held up Wednesday in the Senate because Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) objected that it did not include a ban on importing Russian oil.

Crapo, along with Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Reps. Richard Neal (D-Mass.) and Kevin Brady (R-Texas), said earlier this month that they had reached an agreement on a path forward for legislation that would ban the import of Russian oil, end normal trade relations with Russia and apply new sanctions. 

Banning Russian energy imports is seen as a potentially significant way to punish Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine, given how important energy exports are for the Russian economy. However, although Russian oil account for a small fraction of U.S. imports, the move would likely compound record-high gas prices. 

The Heritage Action statement underscores a key talking point among conservatives, who have said rising gas prices have less to do with global instability because of Russia’s invasion and more to do with the Biden administration’s policies promoting renewable energy and moving away from fossil fuels.

The administration has rejected those criticisms, noting there is still plenty of federal lands available for drilling and noting the Keystone XL Pipeline — a symbol of the conservative criticism — would not have been finished until next year even if Biden had not revoked its permits upon taking office.

Tags Kevin Brady Mike Crapo Richard Neal Ron Wyden

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