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The Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee held a hearing Thursday on the “use of energy as a tool and a weapon”.
The event is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. ET. Watch in the player above.
On Wednesday, the House overwhelmingly approved legislation that would ban Russian oil imports to the United States, an effort to put into law the restrictions announced by President Joe Biden in response to the escalating war in Ukraine.
Going further than Biden’s import ban on Russian oil, the bill making its way through Congress would also encourage a review of Russia’s status in the World Trade Organization and signal U.S. support for sanctions on Russian officials over human rights violations, as the U.S. works to economically isolate the regime.
Lawmakers in both parties have been eager to act, willing to risk higher gas prices at home in order to support Ukraine with a show of U.S. bipartisanship. The legislation was approved Wednesday, 414-17, and now goes to the Senate.
The remarkable bipartisan resolve in Congress to deter Russia and help Ukraine has acted as an accelerant on the White House’s own strategy, pushing the Biden administration to move more quickly than it would have – a rare example of the legislative branch muscling its way into foreign policy.
Just days ago, the Biden administration was reluctant to ban Russian oil imports, worried about reducing the global energy supply and causing spikes in gas prices at a time when U.S. households already face record-setting inflation.
While Russian oil makes up only a small part of U.S. imports, it carries a high price for lawmakers in Congress who viewed the ban as a moral test in blocking an economic lifeline for Putin’s regime. Lawmakers appeared especially moved by Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky’s “desperate plea” for help during a weekend video call with lawmakers.
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