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House passes Russian oil import ban amid Ukraine war

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to suspend energy imports from Russia Wednesday, a day after President Biden signed an executive order enacting a similar ban.

The bill passed 414-17, with only 15 Republicans and two Democrats voting against it.

RUSSIA INVADES UKRAINE: LIVE UPDATES

“The House just passed a ban on Russian oil. It’s time to Stick It To Putin At The Pump!” Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., tweeted in celebration of the bill’s passage.

“I was proud to take a stand today against Russia and sanction their energy exports for Vladimir Putin’s lawless and bloodthirsty invasion of Ukraine,” Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., the third-ranking House Republican, said in a statement. “However, this bill does not go far enough to make up for the devastating impact of Joe Biden’s anti-American energy agenda.”

“Joe Biden must do more than swap out one dictator for another dictator’s oil,” Stefanik added. “Since the beginning, I bhaveeen clear that we must fully sanction Russia, punish Vladimir Putin for his aggressive actions, and support the Ukrainian people with the tools they need, short only of U.S. troops on the ground. And I will continue to fight for American energy independence on behalf of families struggling because of skyrocketing gas prices at the pump and our national security in the face of Joe Biden’s weak leadership.” 

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 14: Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., speaks moments after being elected chair of the House GOP Republican Conference, replacing Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., on Capitol Hill on Friday, May 14, 2021 in Washington, DC.

Aside from banning the import of Russian oil, the legislation aims to limit Russia’s access to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and it reauthorizes legislation that enabled sanctions on human rights abusers. However, it stopped short of an original bipartisan agreement earlier this week that would have suspended normal trade relations with Russia and Belarus.

Earlier on Wednesday, the House passed a $1.5 trillion spending bill that funds the government through Sept. 30 and includes $13.6 billion in aid to Ukraine amid the war with Russia. The defense portion passed by a vote of 361-69, and the domestic portion passed by a vote of 260-171 with one present vote. 

Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin

Russian oil exports account for about one-third of Europe’s oil imports, but they only account for just under 10% of U.S. overall imports.

When Biden signed his order, he warned that gas prices – which reached a new record Wednesday – were likely to continue to increase.

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