House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she supports banning all Russian oil to the United States amid growing momentum in Congress to find additional ways to cut off revenue streams to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“I’m all for that. Ban it,” Pelosi said Thursday at a press conference at the Capitol.
Bipartisan members of Congress have been pushing legislation to ban oil imports from Russia and Republicans, especially, have been calling for more domestic oil and gas production in the wake of Russia’s ongoing assault on Ukraine.
“The United States of America, we are importing Russian energy,” Texas Rep. Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee said Tuesday. “This needs to stop. We are funding Putin’s war machine.”
The most recent data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration show that in December, the U.S. imported 405,000 barrels per day of crude oil and petroleum products from Russia or almost 5% of all U.S. imports for the month. That’s down from about 800,000 barrels in August.
The largest exporters of energy to the United States are Canada and Mexico.
While supporting a Russian oil ban, Pelosi didn’t agree with reopening federal land to oil and gas drilling – which President Biden sought to ban at the start of his presidency.
“I’m not for drilling on public lands,” Pelosi said.
As gas prices skyrocket across the country, Pelosi said the price of oil “is directly related” to what is happening in Ukraine. She downplayed the pain at the pump in comparison to the war Ukrainians are enduring.
“I heard a parliamentarian from Ukraine today saying, ‘Our people are being killed, our country’s being overrun, and people are complaining about paying a little more for the price of gas.’ Well, we don’t want people to have to pay a little more for the price of gas,” Pelosi said.
Pelosi also expressed caution at an effort to implement a gas tax holiday – a break from the 18.3 cents per gallon federal tax – saying that legislation would need to have language to guarantee the savings would be passed down to consumers and not hoarded by the oil companies for more profit.
“That would be a path that we can take,” Pelosi said of the gas tax holiday.