Joe Manchin Overrules Biden, Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Ban Russian Oil Imports

Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) have introduced a bill to ban Russian oil imports.

Manchin and Murkowski overruled Democrat President Joe Biden with their bipartisan bill, The Banning Russian Energy Imports Act.

The legislation has support from 18 Senators so far and some very important House Democrats.

“The United States has the ability to backfill and help all of our allies around the world as Russia use this energy as a weapon,” Manchin said.

“We have to make sure that we’re doing ours [energy production].

“We do it cleaner than anybody else.

“We do it in a better fashion anybody else.

“And we have the ability with a reserve to do much more during this crisis.”

Manchin said on social media: “Energy has become a weapon of war for Vladimir Putin. My bipartisan, bicameral Ban Russian Energy Imports Act will hit Putin where it hurts by banning all imports of Russian crude oil, petroleum, petroleum products, LNG and coal. #BanRussianImports #StandWithUkraine”

But Manchin was just getting warmed up and called out the White House after deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre excused Biden’s inaction saying “we don’t have a strategic interest in reducing the global supply of energy.”

“They’re so wrong,” Joe Manchin fired back.

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Jen Psaki said Biden opposes an import ban because:

“It’s as simple as less supply raises prices, and that is certainly a big factor for the president at this moment.

“It also has the potential to pad the pockets of President Putin, which is exactly what we are not trying to do.”

The problem for Biden and Psaki is that even Nancy Pelosi supports a ban and, if the speaker and Lindsey Graham agree on anything, they probably have the votes to override Biden’s veto.

From The AP:

Amid the escalating war in Ukraine, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday she supports banning Russian oil imports to the U.S., a hefty nod that could strengthen President Joe Biden’s hand as global allies seek to isolate Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime.

Biden has been reluctant to curb Russian oil shipments to the U.S. or slap on energy sanctions in ways that would reduce supply as gas prices at the pump are already climbing for Americans.

But Pelosi’s support gives fresh currency for an idea in Congress already backed by wide swaths of Republicans and an increasing number of Democrats. The White House has said all tools remain on the table.

“I’m all for that,” Pelosi said about ending Russian oil in the U.S. “Ban it.”

Finding common ground to counter Russian aggression toward Ukraine through energy policy would be a breakthrough for the divided Congress, which has shown remarkable resolve in unifying U.S. support for Ukrainians but has struggled over concrete steps that would help the Western-style democracy battle the Russian invasion.

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By David Hawkins

David Hawkins is a writer who specializes in political commentary and world affairs. He's been writing professionally since 2014.

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