- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 3, 2022

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday endorsed a growing bipartisan movement on Capitol Hill for the U.S. to ban its Russian oil imports.

The support from Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat, gives momentum to proponents of a ban, which has encountered resistance from some Democrats because it will likely push gasoline prices higher in the U.S.

“I’m all for that. Ban it,” Mrs. Pelosi told reporters. “Ban the oil coming from Russia.”

A bipartisan coalition of lawmakers is set to unveil new legislation Thursday that would do just that. It follows increasing calls from some Democrats and most Republicans for the Biden administration to immediately cease the nearly 700,000 barrels of oil that the U.S. receives from Russia each day. 

The U.S. received about 8% of its oil imports from Russia last year.

Democrats who have criticized a ban or remain on the fence have expressed concerns that such a move would further shoot up prices at the pump. In addition, some have questioned — including Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat — the impact that a U.S. ban would have on Russia, which supplies massive amounts of oil and natural gas to other countries across the globe.

SEE ALSO: Biden says ‘nothing is off the table’ as bipartisan demand for Russian oil ban grows

Despite the growing bipartisan pressure, the White House continued to reject calls for a ban because of concerns about rising gasoline prices. The national average for a gallon of regular gasoline, which sat at $3.73 per gallon as of Thursday, has seen an increase of more than 30 cents in the last month and roughly $1 in the last year, according to AAA. 

“Our objective has been to maximize impact on President Putin and Russia while minimizing impact on the U.S. and allies,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters. “We don’t have a strategic interest in reducing the global supply of energy. That would raise prices as the gas pump for the American people. That is certainly a big factor for the president at this moment.”

Ms. Psaki added that the administration was searching for other ways to reduce U.S. consumption of Russian energy.

The U.S. received about 8% of its oil imports from Russia, or roughly 672,000 barrels a day, last year, according to the Energy Information Administration. Russia exports a total of about 5 million barrels per day, with the U.S. accounting for 13% of its oil exports.

• Ramsey Touchberry can be reached at rtouchberry@washingtontimes.com.

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