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Schiff signals "strong bipartisan support" for banning Russian oil and gas

Schiff: "Strong bipartisan support" for Russian oil and gas ban
Schiff signals "strong bipartisan support" for banning Russian oil and gas 06:51

Washington — Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff of California said Sunday he believes there is "strong" bipartisan backing for a U.S. ban on Russian oil and natural gas imports as part of its broader efforts to impose costs on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

In an interview with "Face the Nation," Schiff said a ban on Russian energy sales to the U.S. could come from either Congress or the Biden administration, noting there is "very strong bipartisan support" for such a move.

"It's anathema, I think, to many of us in Congress that while we were sanctioning them and trying to cripple their economy, that we would help them in any way by purchasing their petroleum," he told "Face the Nation." "But I think the administration wants to make sure that we work with our allies."

Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said a ban on Russian oil imports would potentially have an impact on prices both in the U.S. and abroad, which underscores President Biden's efforts to work in coordination with European allies and partners.

"He wants to make sure that we understand the impact on the global supply," the California Democrat said. "But I think there is strong support to show solidarity with Ukraine, but also to make sure that American dollars aren't supporting the Russian war machine in any way."

In response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the U.S. and Western allies have imposed a series of sanctions designed to cut Russia from the global financial system and isolate Russia from the rest of the world. The Biden administration, though, has not gone so far as to ban Russian oil imports into the U.S., which purchases 600,000 barrels of Russian petroleum products per day.

There have been growing calls on Capitol Hill, though, for the U.S. to ban energy imports from Russia, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday saying she is "all for that." Secretary of State Antony Blinken told CNN on Sunday that the U.S. is speaking with European partners about a potential embargo.

Schiff said lawmakers would like to move quickly on a ban, but said the U.S. needs to continue exploring ways to "crush" the Russian economy.

"We have to be circumspect about the fact that Russia will probably find somewhere else to sell that oil and gas to," he said. "So the impact ultimately on Russia may not be as powerful as we would like."

Schiff added that a "very partisan Congress" has united around a sanctions package and providing more military support to Ukraine.

Asked how the U.S. would respond if something were to happen to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Schiff said the Biden administration is working to ensure he is protected.

"We're doing everything we can, supplying, I think, real time intelligence to help protect him, as well as to give Ukrainians the information they need to defend themselves," he said.

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