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The Washington Post editorial board defended President Biden as his administration is considering turning to nations like Venezuela and Saudi Arabia for oil as an alternative to importing energy from Russia.
Ever since Russia invaded Ukraine, there were bipartisan calls for the Biden administration to ban Russian oil, which the president announced this week it will do. There has also been growing criticism from GOP lawmakers that Biden is turning from one authoritarian regime to others for energy.
The Post editorial board went to bat for the president, insisting he has “little choice.”
“In the short term, President Biden has little choice but to turn to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela for more heavy crude oil,” the editorial board wrote on Wednesday. “The United States stopped importing Venezuelan oil in 2019 in response to widespread human rights abuses under President Nicolás Maduro. In wartime, Mr. Biden must make hard choices.”
“If he can get some political concessions from the regime, it could be worth lifting the ban on U.S. purchases from Venezuela and adding the 600,000 additional barrels per day it may be capable of producing to the global supply,” the board continued.” Mr. Biden has already sent envoys to Venezuela, and Mr. Maduro has freed two American prisoners.”
The Post called for “a serious — and realistic — conversation about the future of U.S. energy” in its editorial, urging Biden to “call on U.S. producers to step up” and for Congress to consider “gas vouchers for low-income families and waiving, at least temporarily, the Jones Act to make it easier to ship oil from Texas to Hawaii and the coasts,” writing “Every bit helps.”
“In the medium term, we need more U.S. production of oil and natural gas, changes to U.S. refineries, so they can handle more shale oil, and an ongoing push to be more energy efficient,” the editorial board wrote. “Mr. Biden is already outpacing former president Donald Trump in issuing drilling permits on federal land. It may be necessary to provide tax credits or other incentives to get refineries to upgrade and Americans to reduce energy consumption. Automakers are predicting an electric vehicle boom in the coming years, proving that even cars and trucks can change.”
After addressing the “short” and “medium” terms of U.S. energy needs, the Washington Post called for continuing the push for “greener energy” in the “long term.”
“Democrats should make a deal with West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (D) to pass the climate change provisions of Build Back Better,” the editorial board wrote. “It will take time, but continuing to move in the direction of a greener future is wise both for climate reasons and geopolitics.”
“The right path forward is to plan for a greener future down the road while beefing up domestic oil and natural gas production to deal with a crisis in the near term,” the paper concluded.