The White House reportedly plans to ban all Russian oil imports to the US, even if it cannot secure the EU’s backing on the matter, two people familiar with the issue told Reuters on Monday. US President Joe Biden will bring up the topic during a Monday conference call with his French, German, and UK counterparts in which he hopes to gain their support.
A senior US official confirmed to Reuters that if legislation banning Russian imports does pass, “it is likely just the US.”
Europe is already dealing with record-high oil and natural gas prices due to sanctions placed on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine, setting an all-time record of €345 per megawatt-hour for natural gas futures. The US is also seeing energy prices surge, with gas expected to surpass its all-time high of $4.103 per gallon later this week. Global oil prices have soared to the highest level since the 2008 financial crisis, topping out at $140 per barrel for Brent crude.
These eye-popping figures haven’t stopped the US from racing to ban Russian energy imports. A bipartisan group of senators led by Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) introduced a bill last week to ban imports of Russian oil by declaring yet another national emergency, and the bill is expected to be fast-tracked.
The House is also “exploring” the possibility of banning Russian oil imports, according to a Sunday letter from Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and another massive aid package – this one totaling $10 billion – is expected to be sent off to Ukraine while Americans struggle to pay rent and put food on the table under significantly high inflation.