Manchin, Murkowski Lead Bipartisan Effort to Ban Russian Energy Imports

18 Bipartisan Senators Introduce the Ban Russian Energy Imports Act; Reps. Fitzpatrick and Gottheimer to introduce House companion bill

Today, U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), senior member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, introduced the Ban Russian Energy Imports Act which would prohibit the importation of Russian crude oil, petroleum, petroleum products, liquefied natural gas (LNG) and coal. They were joined by Senators John Tester (D-MT), Susan Collins (R-ME), Angus King (I-ME), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Steve Daines (R-MT), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Mark Warner (D-VA), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Rob Portman (R-OH). Representatives Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-1) and Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ-5) will introduce companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.

In 2021, the United States imported an average of 670,000 barrels of oil and petroleum products, with a high of 848,000 barrels per day in June 2021, with imports up 24% in 2021 over 2020. The U.S. has also imported Russian LNG and coal despite having some of the largest reserves domestically. This import strategy puts American national security at risk and supports Vladimir Putin’s ability to stay in power. 

“The entire world is on edge as Vladimir Putin terrorizes the sovereign democratic nation of Ukraine. The U.S. cannot continue to purchase more than half a million barrels of oil per day because in doing so, we are emboldening Putin to continue using his greatest weapon of war – energy exports,” said Chairman Manchin. “The Ban Russian Energy Imports Act would declare a national emergency with respect to Russian aggression and immediately prohibit the importation of Russian energy products. Importantly, this bipartisan bill shows our strong commitment to stand behind the valiant efforts of the Ukrainian people and the measures our allies in Europe are taking to rebuke Putin and his continued aggression. I urge Leader Schumer to quickly bring this bipartisan bill to the floor and urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support it.”

“The world is watching in shock as Russia wages an unprovoked war on Ukraine, killing innocents as it attempts to destroy a fragile democracy. While the Biden administration has taken noteworthy steps to try to convince Vladimir Putin and his regime to stand down, we need an all-encompassing approach that uses every viable tool at our disposal. By leaving Russia’s energy exports untouched, the United States is ignoring one of our most potent options to stop the bloodshed. We must ban Russia’s energy imports into the U.S. so that Americans aren’t forced to help finance their growing atrocities and halt the Russian aggression. I’m proud to sponsor this bill with Senator Manchin and urge the Senate to pass it immediately,” said Senator Murkowski.


More photos of the press conference HERE

The Ban Russian Energy Imports Act would:

  • Declare a national emergency specifically with respect to the threat to our national security, foreign policy, and economy that exists as a result of Russian aggression against Ukraine and directs the President to prohibit imports of crude oil, petroleum, petroleum products, LNG, and coal from Russia.
  • The President has had the authority to take these actions since 1917; this legislation does not grant additional authority. This approach is modeled on the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.  
  • The ban would be in place during the national emergency and either the President or Congress would be able to terminate the emergency and the import ban. 
  • The bill exempts product that is already loaded or in transit at the time of enactment. 

“Strengthening our energy independence from enemies like Russia has to be a top priority as we unite to confront Putin’s unprovoked war on Ukraine,” said Senator Tester. “Banning Russian oil and gas imports will hit Putin where it hurts, our best response to rising gas prices should be increasing our domestic energy production from all sources and increasing trade with our allies, not buying from dictators who are actively invading sovereign nations. This critical step isolates and weakens Putin and the oligarchs who prop him up.”

“Putin is leveraging Russia’s oil revenue to fund his war effort against the peaceful country of Ukraine and kill innocent civilians.  Banning the importation of Russian energy products would cut off a portion of this key source of cash flow and help prevent Putin from circumventing the punishing sanctions that the U.S. and our allies have imposed to pressure Russia to bring an end to this terrible war,” said Senator Collins.  “The crisis in Ukraine has also underscored the need for the U.S. and Europe to increase our energy independence in order to strengthen our national security and deter ruthless autocrats who are on the march around the globe.”

“The United States should not be relying on a malignant, war-hungry Putin to address our energy needs – and we shouldn’t be funding Russia’s efforts to occupy a peaceful nation,” said Senator King. “As long as Russia continues its brutal campaign against the Ukrainian people, the U.S. must take its business elsewhere.”

“This proposal from Senators Manchin and Murkowski would be one of the most hard-hitting pushbacks against Putin in our arsenal,” said Senator Graham. “The Achilles heel of the Russian war machine and economy is the oil and gas sector. This legislation would do great damage to Putin’s main revenue source, making the world a safer and more stable place.”

“President Biden and the United States need to unleash American energy production and stop funding Putin’s ruthless war chest,” said Senator Daines.

“When America buys Russian oil, we fund Vladimir Putin’s war of aggression against Ukraine and his threats against the U.S. and our NATO partners,” said Sen. Sullivan. “Simply put, continuing to import oil from Russia is national security suicide. We never should have been in this position. After all, we were energy independent during the Trump administration and the world’s top producer of all-of-the-above energy resources. The Biden administration’s relentless war on domestic energy production has nearly killed this critical strategic advantage, and the world is now reaping the consequences. The first step to regaining energy independence is ending the flow of Russian oil—the lifeblood of Putin’s corrupt regime—to our own country. I’m glad to partner with Senators Manchin and Murkowski on bipartisan legislation to close this unacceptable gap in the West’s sanctions, strike Putin’s Achilles’ heel, and stand with the brave people of Ukraine.”

"We are a week into Russia's illegal war against Ukraine, and Russian crude oil and other energy products continue arriving on American shores, fueling their war effort. The United States is not dependent on Russian fossil fuels, and the Ban Russian Energy Imports Act supports Ukraine by blunting one of Putin's advantages: Russian energy production. I will continue working to increase domestic energy production and take additional steps so that American families don't bear the cost of this conflict and have reliable, affordable energy options,” said Senator Mark Kelly.

“The United States should not be subsidizing Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine by purchasing and importing Russian oil, petroleum, natural gas, and coal,” Senator Capito said. “The Ban Russian Energy Imports Act is a commonsense measure, has bipartisan support here in Congress, and would hit the Kremlin where it hurts. If President Biden had not waged war on American energy production from day one of his presidency, he would have already imposed a similar ban on Russian energy. I urge the administration to support this legislation, and in the meantime, take steps to undo their misguided policies that are strangling American energy producers here at home, which will also allow us to better assist our allies as they move away from Russian energy sources.”

“Putin is selling us Russian oil to pay for his brutality in Ukraine,” said Senator Hickenlooper. “Let’s end Russian oil imports today and accelerate the deployment of renewable energy sources so we never use it again.”

“We must do all we can to squeeze Russia’s energy revenues. It starts with banning Russian energy imports. We also need to send the signal that America can be energy independent and will not help fund Vladimir Putin’s aggression. We have the natural resources in our backyard necessary to displace Russia’s dirtier product. In the wake of Russia’s violent invasion of Ukraine, this is a step we must take for national, energy, and economic security,” said Senator Cramer.

“Since Vladimir Putin launched his unprovoked and illegal invasion of Ukraine, the Biden administration has pulled together an impressive international coalition to impose swift and severe sanctions on Russia. While these measures have already put intense pressure on Russia’s economy, it’s clear more must be done to punish Putin for the tragedies occurring in Ukraine. As Putin continues his viscous assault on the citizens of Ukraine, we should not continue to support Russia’s energy economy by importing these commodities. That’s why I’m proud to support this legislation that would strike at the heart of the Russian economy by banning the importation of Russian oil, natural gas, and coal into the United States,” said Senator Warner, Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

“Putin’s invasion of Ukraine requires an extraordinary response that includes going after the energy revenues he uses to fund his war machine,” said Dr. Cassidy. “This policy can and needs to be partnered with increasing our domestic production to improve our energy independence and shelter Americans from rising costs.”

“Energy exports are Putin’s lifeline, which is exactly why we need to cut them off. We must act decisively to continue pressuring Putin, punishing his cronies, and squeezing Russia’s economy. Halting energy imports into the United States hits Putin where it hurts and shows our bipartisan resolve to continue standing with the brave Ukrainians defending democracy and their homeland,” said Senator Blumenthal.

“We must do all we can to bankrupt President Putin’s economy and his war machine in order to defeat Russia’s assault on Ukraine. The United States should immediately stop buying Russian oil and increase domestic energy production here at home,” said Senator Portman.

“By continuing to import oil from Russia, the U.S. is supporting Russian energy coercion and helping Putin to bankroll his brutal and unjustified war against Ukraine,” said Rep. Fitzpatrick. “We must put an end to the importation of Russian energy products now. Our bipartisan Ban Russian Energy Imports Act will send Putin and his cronies a clear message: the U.S. will secure our own energy independence, and we will not partake in Russia’s energy manipulation tactics. I implore House and Senate leadership to swiftly bring this legislation to the floor for a vote.”

“I’m proud to join forces — both across the aisle and across chambers — to help lead this critical bipartisan bill to ban Russian oil and petroleum from being imported to the United States,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer. “We have the opportunity to cut off Putin’s largest revenue source, to support America’s own energy independence and security, and to work with our allies to stabilize the global energy market to help us mitigate rising energy costs for our hardworking families.”

To learn more about the Ban Russian Energy Imports Act, click here.

To read the full text of the Ban Russian Energy Imports Act, click here.