While Rep. Matt Rosendale turned his back Thursday on Russia’s war on Ukraine, Sens. Jon Tester and Steve Daines cosponsored legislation in the Senate to block all Russian oil and gas imports to the U.S. They also called for more energy production in the U.S.
“Strengthening our energy independence from enemies like Russia has to be a top priority as we unite to confront Putin’s unprovoked war on Ukraine,” Tester said in a statement. “Banning Russian oil and gas imports will hit Putin where it hurts.”
The Ban Russian Energy Imports Act would declare a national emergency given current threats that exist resulting from the Russian invasion.
The bill would direct the Biden administration to prohibit imports of crude oil, petroleum, petroleum products, liquefied natural gas and coal from Russia. It would remain implemented during the duration of the national emergency.
“Our best response to rising gas prices should be increasing our domestic production and trade with our allies, not buying from dictators who are actively invading sovereign nations,” Tester said. “This critical step isolates and weakens Putin and the oligarchs who prop him up.”
The U.S. remains a large market for Russian energy exports, even though it’s the world’s top oil producer behind Saudi Arabia and Russia. But the U.S. also is oil thirsty, consuming up to 20 billion barrels a day.
While backing a ban on Russian oil imports, Tester and Daines are also pushing for increased domestic energy production. Daines has been vocal on the issue since the Russian invasion.
“President Biden and the United States need to unleash American energy production and stop funding Putin’s ruthless war chest,” Daines said.
Rosendale was just one of three members of the House to vote against supporting Ukraine on Thursday.