Spanberger Backs Bipartisan, Bicameral Legislation to Ban Russian Energy Imports

The Congresswoman is an Original Cosponsor of the Ban Russian Energy Imports Act — Introduced by 30 Problem Solvers Caucus Members & Companion Bill to Legislation Introduced in the U.S. Senate Last Week

Spanberger: “Putin’s Acts of Brutality are Both Literally and Financially Fueled by Russian Gas”

WASHINGTON, D.C.  — U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger — a Member of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee — helped introduce bipartisan legislation to prohibit the importation of Russian crude oil, petroleum, petroleum products, liquified natural gas (LNG), and coal to the United States.

In 2021, the United States imported an average of 670,000 barrels of oil and petroleum products per day. These imports were up 24 percent in 2021 over 2020. This import strategy threatens America’s national security and supports Putin’s ability to stay in power and finance his campaign of destruction in Ukraine — all at a time when U.S. production of energy is steadily growing. For the last 18 months straight, the number of active oil rigs in the United States has increased and is 60 percent higher than in January of 2021. Additionally, Canadian imports of oil grew to record levels at the end of 2021, providing yet another reliable source of crude.

The Spanberger-cosponsored Ban Russian Energy Imports Act would declare a national emergency specifically with respect to the threat to our national security, foreign policy, and economy that exists as a result of Russia’s war in Ukraine. Additionally, the bill would direct the President to prohibit new imports of crude oil, petroleum, petroleum products, LNG, and coal from Russia.

“Over the last few days, we have watched Russian forces target Ukrainian civilians, schools, hospitals, and places of worship. Putin’s acts of brutality are both literally and financially fueled by Russian gas — and Putin’s eventual fate is closely tied to the fate of Russia’s energy markets,” said Spanberger. “While recent sanctions from the United States and our partners have substantially crippled the Ruble, targeting Russia’s energy sector would be one of the most effective ways to crater Russia’s petrostate economy. In doing so, our bipartisan bill would help make clear our unrelenting support for the Ukrainian people. In the days ahead, I hope we can bring this legislation to the floor for a vote, while also taking concrete steps to prevent additional price impacts on consumers here at home — including making sure we are reducing barriers for increased domestic energy production.”

The bipartisan Ban Russian Energy Imports Act is led by U.S. Representatives Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ-05) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-01), co-chairs of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus —which formally endorsed the bill last night. This legislation is the U.S. House companion bill to a U.S. Senate bill introduced last Thursday by 18 U.S. Senators — including U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-VA).

“Since Vladimir Putin launched his unprovoked and illegal invasion of Ukraine, the Biden administration has pulled together an impressive international coalition to impose swift and severe sanctions on Russia. While these measures have already put intense pressure on Russia’s economy, it’s clear more must be done to punish Putin for the tragedies occurring in Ukraine. As Putin continues his vicious assault on the citizens of Ukraine, we should not continue to support Russia’s energy economy by importing these commodities,” said Warner. “That’s why I’m proud to support this legislation that would strike at the heart of the Russian economy by banning the importation of Russian oil, natural gas, and coal into the United States.”

“We can’t subsidize Putin’s war in Ukraine with American dollars. The Russians are killing innocent civilians, violating cease fires in refugee corridors, and escalating assaults,” Gottheimer. “We need to hit Putin where it hurts. By banning the import of Russian oil here to the U.S., we have the opportunity to stick it to Putin, work with our allies to stabilize the energy market across the world, safeguard our nation’s energy security, and boost America’s energy independence. I’m also glad the Administration announced a global utilization of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve — 60 billion barrels — to help get gas prices globally down. Existing wells are coming back online. We’ve seen that now for 18 straight weeks. Overall, the number of active rigs is up more than 60 percent since the beginning of the Administration. This should all help relieve global gas prices.”

“By continuing to import oil from Russia, the U.S. is supporting Russian energy coercion and helping Putin to bankroll his brutal and unjustified war against Ukraine,” said Fitzpatrick. “We must put an end to the importation of Russian energy products now. Our bipartisan Ban Russian Energy Imports Act will send Putin and his cronies a clear message: the U.S. will secure our own energy independence, and we will not partake in Russia’s energy manipulation tactics. I implore House and Senate leadership to swiftly bring this legislation to the floor for a vote.”

The bipartisan Ban Russian Energy Imports Act would enact this import ban during a declared national emergency, and either the President or Congress would be able to terminate the emergency and the import ban. This legislation exempts products that are already loaded or in transit at the time of enactment.

In response to Putin’s war in Ukraine, Spanberger has been focused on levying unprecedented sanctions on Russia — while also mitigating the economic effects of the crisis on Virginia families and businesses. Last week, she pressed the Biden Administration to help stave off increases at the gas pump in Virginia and across the country by releasing additional barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR)

Click here to read the full bill text. 

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