Biden Faces A Difficult Decision: A Russian Oil Embargo Would Result In Increased Gas Prices

While President Joe Biden’s administration expressed a fresh openness to banning Russian oil imports on Monday, the president faced the difficult decision of adopting a step that would raise the price Americans pay at the petrol pump. Top congressional Republicans and Democrats said that they had reached an agreement on bipartisan legislation that would penalize Russia for its invasion of Ukraine by prohibiting the import of Russian oil and other energy products, as well as halting normal trade relations with Russia.

Biden had not yet determined whether or not to implement a restriction, according to the White House. However, an official with the White House National Security Council told ABC News that the Biden administration was considering doing so even if Europe did not follow suit, a change from Biden’s practice of implementing sanctions in lockstep with European nations. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday that he had discussed a possible US ban with Vice President Joe Biden and other Cabinet members the day before.

“We are now talking to our European partners and allies to look in a coordinated way at the prospect of banning the import of Russian oil while making sure that there is still an appropriate supply of oil on world markets,” he said during an interview with CNN’s “State of the Union.” “That’s a very active discussion as we speak,” Blinken added. Democrats and Republicans in both houses of Congress have been increasingly calling for a ban in recent days. Last Monday, a bipartisan group of senators submitted legislation that would enforce a moratorium, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi endorsed it. Biden is in a political bind as demand rises from both sides of the aisle to act.

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After nearly two weeks of imposing crippling sanctions on Russia in collaboration with Western allies, Trump’s failure to move to prohibit Russian oil imports could give the impression that he isn’t doing everything he can to hurt Russia’s economy and President Vladimir Putin. Democrats and Republicans in both houses of Congress have been increasingly calling for a ban in recent days. Last Monday, a bipartisan group of senators submitted legislation that would enforce a moratorium, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi endorsed it.

Biden is in a political bind as demand rises from both sides of the aisle to act. After nearly two weeks of imposing crippling sanctions on Russia in collaboration with Western allies, Trump’s failure to move to prohibit Russian oil imports could give the impression that he isn’t doing everything he can to hurt Russia’s economy and President Vladimir Putin.

“What the president is most focused on,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Monday, “is ensuring we are continuing to take steps to deliver punishing economic consequences on Putin while taking all action necessary to limit the impact to prices at the gas pump.”

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