WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and Representative Barbara Lee (CA-13), chair of the Caucus Peace and Security Taskforce, issued the following statement in response to President Biden’s announcement he would ban imports of Russian oil, and the House passage of the Suspending Energy Imports from Russia Act:
“In close consultation with our European allies, the White House has imposed a ban on U.S. imports of Russian oil and gas as a further response to Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine. We urge the administration to link this policy, along with other sanctions measures, to a clear diplomatic process for de-escalating the conflict, and incentivizing a ceasefire that includes a Russian military withdrawal from Ukraine.
“Now more than ever, we can see why it is so essential to double down on our transition to renewable energy and not be reliant on dictators for our energy needs. We applaud the President’s call for investing in renewable energy, not only to keep gas prices down, but also to increase America’s manufacturing power, and deny countries like Russia the means to leverage fossil fuel exports against other countries as it carries out wars of aggression. The House-passed climate agenda — investments in electric vehicles powered by clean energy, tax credits to winterize homes, and more — will save families hundreds of dollars in utility bills, protect working people from unpredictable price swings in a volatile global energy market, and keep us on the path to meet President Biden’s goal of halving American carbon emissions by 2030. We simply cannot drill or burn our way to that goal — and forgoing it in the name of short-term energy independence would cause irrevocable climate damage.
“As the President said in his remarks this week, gas prices will rise. That is why we also must immediately take executive and legislative action to raise wages and lower other costs for American families, including prescription drug prices, child care, and elder care.
"In addition, as the President also emphasized, this is ‘no time for profiteering or price gouging.’ Big Oil must not be allowed to shamelessly use a crisis to raise the prices of goods and services most in need. Fortunately, Congress has the tools to respond: we urge our colleagues to quickly move forward an expanded version of Rep. Jan Schakowsky (IL-09)’s COVID-19 Price Gouging Prevention Act to include gas and energy prices, prohibiting corporations’ ability to squeeze families.
“We can, and must, hold Russia accountable while ensuring that our planet, our communities, and their economic security do not pay the price for Putin’s invasion. This is the moment to take decisive action that protects all three.”