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House to move forward with bill to ban Russian oil

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for holds her weekly press conference discussing the passing of the Honor our PACT Act and President Biden’s first State of the Union in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, March 3, 2022.
Anna Rose Layden

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told House Democrats on Tuesday that they are moving ahead with legislation to ban imports of Russian oil, despite expected action from the Biden administration later in the day.

President Biden is expected to announce later Tuesday that the U.S. will ban Russian oil, natural gas and coal imports in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

But Pelosi told Democrats during a closed-door meeting that the House will still proceed with a bill, which is likely to include other items related to Russia, according to a Democratic aide. Pelosi said that the White House had told her an announcement on banning Russian oil was imminent for days. 

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said the vote would likely be this week.
 
“We will be voting on legislation which will say that we will not be buying oil or other energy products anymore from Russia,” Hoyer told reporters.

Biden’s expected announcement comes after his administration had come under bipartisan pressure to ban Russian energy imports to target one of the country’s major sources of wealth.

The Biden administration and European leaders have been wary of adopting policies that could further increase energy prices for consumers. While the U.S. and its allies had already issued a variety of sanctions on Russia’s economy since the invasion of Ukraine began last month, its energy sector was largely spared from the harshest penalties. 

Gas prices have already reached record highs in the U.S. following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with the average cost of a gallon of regular fuel now over $4.

Only a small percentage of oil imported into the U.S. comes from Russia, compared to European nations that are more reliant on Russian energy. 

Pelosi backed the bipartisan push to ban Russian oil imports last week and said she’s “all for that.”

The leaders of House and Senate committees with jurisdiction over trade policy said Monday that they had reached a bipartisan deal to ban imports of Russian energy products and suspend normal trade relations with Russia and Belarus. 

“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,” said House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.), Ways and Means ranking member Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Finance ranking member Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) in a statement. 

But lawmakers have not yet introduced a bill amid the Biden administration’s preparations to announce the ban on Russian oil on Tuesday.

It’s not yet clear when the House would vote on the legislation to ban imports of Russian oil. The House is currently scheduled to end this week’s session on Wednesday to accommodate House Democrats’ messaging and policy retreat in Philadelphia.

Both the House and Senate are also expected to vote in the coming days on legislation to fund the government that would include humanitarian and military aid for Ukraine. Current government funding is set to expire on Friday.

But lawmakers have not yet introduced a bill amid the Biden administration’s preparations to announce the ban on Russian oil on Tuesday.

Both the House and Senate are also expected to vote in the coming days on legislation to fund the government that would include humanitarian and military aid for Ukraine. Current government funding is set to expire on Friday.

–Updated at 11:22 a.m.

Tags House invasion Joe Biden Kevin Brady Mike Crapo Nancy Pelosi Richard Neal Ron Wyden Russian oil Russian oil imports sanctions Steny Hoyer Ukraine

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