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Pressure grows on Biden to ban U.S. imports of Russian oil -Breaking

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© Reuters. U.S. U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, R-AK, to present a bill banning Russian energy imports at the U.S. Capito

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By Timothy Gardner

WASHINGTON (Reuters] – On Thursday, a bipartisan group representing U.S. senators proposed a bill to prohibit U.S. imports Russian oil. The bill stated that the shipments can be replaced by boosting production in North America and other areas.

To become law, the bill must pass both the Senate and House. President Joe Biden would need to sign it. However, the White House indicated that they are not willing to support any moves that might increase gasoline prices at a time of high inflation.

Banning Russian Energy Imports Act is a bill that will punish President Vladimir Putin for his invading of Ukraine. It is supported by 18 senators from the 100-member chamber. These include Joe Manchin (a conservative Democrat) and Lisa Murkowski (a Republican). Sen. Ed Markey is a liberal Democrat who has proposed similar legislation.

Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives also stated that she supported a ban. She said to reporters, “I support that.” “Ban Russia’s oil.”

The White House didn’t immediately reply to a comment request about whether Biden (a Democrat) would sign the bill.

Jon Tester (a Democrat hailing from Montana, which supports Manchin-Murkowski’s bill), stated that “I do not believe this country should import anything from Russia.” This will make it clearer that the United States supports the Ukrainians over the long term.

Although it was not clear if the bill would win 60 votes in Senate, which is likely to be required for it pass, the fact that it has been co-sponsored by several Democrats increases its chance of passing.

According to Energy Information Administration (EIA), the United States imported an average of 20.4 million barrels per month of refined and crude products from Russia in 2021. This represents about 8% of U.S. oil fuel imports.

Par Pacific Holdings (NYSE 🙂 was the first U.S. refiner that suspended purchases of Russian oil from its Hawaii-based refinery. The EIA reported that Russia contributed nearly 28% to Hawaii’s crude oil imports for last year.

Russia, which exports 4 to 5 millions barrels per day of crude oil, is second only after Saudi Arabia. Although sanctions against Russia have been lifted, the West has imposed severe restrictions on oil exports. This caused oil buyers to shun Russian barrels, and seek out other sources.

‘PAD PUTIN’S POCKETS’

Russia is the largest producer of crude oil in the world, accounting for 10%. The Biden administration has not taken any actions to increase the price of oil, despite imposing a number of sanctions against Russia after the Ukraine conflict escalated.

Jen Psaki, White House spokesperson said Thursday that “We do not have any strategic interest to reduce the global energy supply… That would raise gas prices for the American people.”

Psaki suggested that the United States could ban Russian crude imports from America. The price of oil has risen to a decade high this week. According to the American Automobile Association, gasoline retail prices in America have steadily risen. The United States are the biggest oil consumer and the average price per gallon for regular gasoline on Thursday was $3.73.

Psaki claimed that the oil and gas industry also could be used to “plumb the pockets” of President Putin. This is what they aren’t trying to do. Russia’s economy relies heavily on oil, gas, and many state-owned companies that produce energy are part of this dependence.

Biden still insists that Russia is being punished to the full extent possible.

The bill’s backers claimed it would not affect Russian oil exports from the United States. They also stated that the U.S. and Canadian supplies could be used to replace Russian barrels, without increasing prices.

Democratic senator Chris Murphy (Democratic Senator) said that Congress isn’t in the right place at the moment to set a new direction than the Biden administration.

Murphy seemed to be supportive of the idea, though. He stated that it still felt right to do so, and that any action in this direction must be coordinated with Europe.

White House deputy national security advisor Daleep Singh stated Wednesday that the Biden administration is looking to reduce U.S. oil consumption while maintaining global energy supplies.

Singh, CNN’s CNN correspondent said that there are many other countries producing oil to replace any Russian oil not imported.

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