2 Arizona congressmen among few to vote against bill to ban Russian oil imports
PHOENIX – Two Arizona congressmen voted against a bill to ban Russian oil imports that passed through the House with strong bipartisan support Wednesday night.
Reps. Andy Biggs and Paul Gosar were among 15 Republicans to vote against the Suspending Energy Imports from Russia Act, which passed 414-17 and was sent to the Senate. Democratic Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Cori Bush of Missouri also voted no.
The legislation is an effort to put into law restrictions announced Tuesday by President Joe Biden as the U.S. works to economically isolate Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.
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.
H.R. 6968–Suspending Energy Imports from Russia Act–does not make America more energy independent.
We must unleash the power of America’s oil and gas industry! pic.twitter.com/PLrnlGwYkF
— Rep Andy Biggs (@RepAndyBiggsAZ) March 10, 2022
In a video posted to social media before the vote, Biggs said he supported banning Russian oil imports even before the invasion, but he opposed the bill because it lacked provisions to increase U.S. production.
“They’re going to stop importing oil and gas, but they’re not going to unleash the power of America’s oil and gas industry, which would then not just make us free of Russia, but we’d be energy independent and be able to actually export natural gas and oil,” he said.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California said Republicans would have preferred a bill tougher on Russia that included efforts to allow more energy production in the U.S., but they wanted to send a show of support.
“Our conference overwhelmingly does not want Russian oil; we want American oil,” McCarthy said.
The legislation in many ways is symbolic, since Biden has already announced the Russian oil ban. But the legislative push sets up the next showdown over Russia’s trade status as Congress presses for restrictions on other imports from Russia that the administration has so far resisted.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.