Congressional Republicans and conservative commentators chastised the Biden administration, following reports the administration sought to purchase oil from Venezuela to plug energy supply gaps created by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The New York Times reports that top American government officials made a trip to Venezuela during the weekend to speak with Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro to wean the country away from its ties with Russia.
Biden weighs easing sanctions on Venezuela to isolate Russia and increase oil production https://t.co/7Bv4qvJxUQ
— corvid 317 (@corvid317) March 7, 2022
During the Trump presidency, the US broke diplomatic relations with Venezuela, shutting the embassy in Caracas in 2019.
The US then placed sanctions on Venezuela’s oil industry and several senior regime officials, while recognizing opposition leader Juan Guaido as the rightful president.
Maduro responded to the sanctions by seeking economic and diplomatic assistance from Russia, China, and Iran
According to the New York Times, Russian banking institutions have assisted Venezuela in maintaining oil exports, despite US sanctions.
However, the country reportedly severed ties with Russia in the aftermath of the invasion; people involved in discussions, as well as Maduro himself, have shown an interest in reviving exports to the United States.
It is wrong for the Biden Administration to beg for oil from Venezuela & legitimize Maduro’s communist regime during an official visit.
The U.S. should hold Maduro accountable while increasing domestic energy production so we won’t need to rely on hostile regimes for energy.
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) March 7, 2022
In a speech Thursday, according to the New York Times, he said Venezuela’s oil is available to anyone who wishes to produce and purchase it, whether it’s an investor from Asia, Europe, or the United States.
The Wall Street Journal and CBS News echoed the Times’ reporting.
The Wall Street Journal reported Venezuela also contacted major Wall Street firms on Thursday to insist the Biden presidency revive diplomatic negotiations and lift oil sanctions.
A Self-Sufficient Country
Republican congressional leaders, congressional aspirants, and conservative columnists reacted angrily to the New York Times’ report.
They blasted the Biden presidency for repeatedly relying on oil imports to fill supply gaps, rather than reviving domestic production.
“Rather than making the country self-sufficient, Biden wants to purchase oil from Maduro—yet another homicidal thug,” stated Florida Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez. “Worrisome trend from this leadership as they continue to bolster our enemies.”
Unnecessary and Unreasonable
“Joe Biden would much rather acquire oil from Venezuela and Iran than from Pennsylvania,” Carla Sands, a Pennsylvania United States Senate candidate, wrote.
Republicans in Congress have been appealing to the Biden presidency for days to rethink US oil production as oil prices rise beyond $100 per barrel and gasoline prices in the United States surpass $4 per gallon and continue to soar to near-record levels.
Senator Josh Hawley and Congresswoman Lauren Boebert issued requests for the US to try and restore energy independence immediately, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Republican leaders such as Texas Senator Ted Cruz and multiple others have since called for the presidency to increase production.
However, Biden has limited American production to date. The administration and many Democrat members of Congress only asked for more supplies from nations, such as Venezuela, Iran, and Saudi Arabia.