“‘I have serious concerns that the Suspending Energy Imports from Russia Act will become yet another clear example where a policy stays on the books well past its utility … . I am also gravely concerned that this ban will mean ramping up domestic oil production.’”
— Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota
That was Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota explaining her vote Wednesday against a bill that aims to prohibit U.S. imports of Russian energy product.
The House voted overwhelmingly in favor of the measure, but it wasn’t unanimous as 17 lawmakers opposed it while 414 were in support.
The vote came after President Joe Biden already had announced Tuesday that he would ban Russian oil, following pressure from Capitol Hill to ramp up the American response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Among the 17 lawmakers who opposed the bill were two Democrats — Omar and Democratic Rep. Cori Bush of Missouri — and 15 Republicans, including Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Thomas Massie of Kentucky and Chip Roy of Texas.
In giving her reasons for her “nay” vote in a statement, Omar also said American reliance on oil
“means a dependence on tyrants,” and there is “no meaningful principle at play in a decision to ban Russian oil but seek it from Saudi Arabia instead.” And she reiterated her past calls to transition away from fossil fuels, saying the U.S. “must move to a green economy
Gaetz made a similar point in a National Pulse op-ed about why he planned to vote “no,” saying “while Russian oil is indeed stained with blood, so is Iran’s, and so is Venezuela’s.”
“Hard-working Americans shouldn’t have to pay higher gas prices to support Maduro or Khameini over Putin,” he added, in a reference to the leaders of Venezuela, Iran and Russia.
But unlike Omar, the GOP congressman doesn’t see a ramp up in U.S. drilling ahead.
“Biden hates American energy so much he would open energy production in Venezuela and Iran before Colorado and North Dakota,” Gaetz wrote in his op-ed.