WASHINGTON -- Monday's announcement by the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee leaders was that they have reached a bipartisan agreement to pass legislation that would prohibit the import Russian energy products.
It is unknown if President Joe Biden would sign the legislation, as he has not yet committed to a ban Russian oil.
After the announcement of the bipartisan agreement, White House press Secretary Jen Psaki said that no decision had been made by the president regarding a ban on Russia's oil imports. She added that those discussions were ongoing "internally" and "with our partner."
Psaki stated that the topic of an oil banning was brought up by Biden in his call with European leaders earlier today. She also noted that the U.S. has a lower dependence on Russian oil than Europe.
In addition to a suspension of normal trade relations with Russia, and its ally Belarus, the legislative agreement in Congress calls for a suspension of those relations. The president would have the authority to increase tariffs on products from these two countries. Additionally, the U.S. trade representative would be required to request the suspension of Russia's membership in the World Trade Organization.
The four lawmakers stated in a joint statement that "taking these actions will send Putin a clear message that his war is unacceptable"
Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) and top Republican Kevin Brady (Texas), as well as Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Mike Crapo (Idaho).
They stated that "While Congress must do more, as congressional leaders with jurisdiction over the nation's trade policies, we are committed using the tools available to stop Russia’s unconscionable, unjust war against Ukraine and to hold Belarus responsible for its involvement."
As President Vladimir Putin intensifies his attacks on Ukraine, the Congress has reached a deal.
In a Sunday interview on CNN's State of the Union, Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that the U.S. was talking to its European partners about the possibility of banning Russian oil.