Amid the escalating war in Ukraine, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday she supports banning Russian oil imports to the US, The Associated Press reported.
“I'm all for that," Pelosi said about ending Russian oil in the US. “Ban it.”
President Joe Biden has been reluctant to curb Russian oil shipments to the US 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.
Republicans have been pushing for the Russian oil ban, joined by some Democrats eager to punish Putin. “What if we crush the oil and gas sector of the Russian economy?” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. “That would be a lethal combination for the Russian economy.”
Sen. Ed Markey, a liberal Democrat from Massachusetts and a leading advocate of climate change strategies, also backs an import ban. “We cannot criticize Europe for its reliance on Russian energy as we pour dirty oil money into Russia,” he said, according to AP.
The White House has said all options remain on the table. “We don’t have a strategic interest in reducing the global supply of energy,” said White House press secretary Jen Psaki.
The US has recently sanctioned Russia following its invasion of Ukraine. On Monday, Washington announced it is taking measures to block American dollar transactions from Russia’s central bank.
The move will also cut off Russia’s direct investment fund from US dollar transactions. CNN reported that the prohibition will deny Russia one of its main methods of working around new sanctions.
Last Friday, the White House announced it would impose sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, and other members of the Russian National Security team.