Washington senators address economic turn after gas and oil ban

As gas costs continue to rise, the conversation surrounding the country’s economic future buzz among political figureheads.

Sen. Patty Murray condemned large oil and gas companies who attempt to profiteer from “a crisis or the sacrifice of the American people” at a press conference Tuesday on Capitol Hill.

This corresponds with President Joe Biden’s remarks after signing an executive order banning the import of Russian oil and gas to the U.S. – an effort to curtail Vladimir Putin from continuing Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

“I do not want to see big oil executives raking in cash while families in Washington state, or anywhere else across the country, pay more at the pump to support our allies,” she said.

The executive move, which also restricts American companies and investors from supporting Russia’s energy production, cuts off around 3 percent of crude oil imports, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Murray also emphasized the obligation to avoid a government shutdown or cuts to social program, adding that communities rely on them to survive.

However, people are already feeling the economic hit.

Gas prices hit a national average of $4.25 as of Wednesday with Washington’s average being $4.63, according to AAA. The organization reported a 50-cent jump from the previous week and expects the price to rise.

Sen. Maria Cantwell asserted the need to invest in alternative energy to end the U.S.’s dependence of foreign oil and gas.

“The world community, unified in condemning the Russian invasion of democratic Ukraine, should now work together to meet immediate energy needs without the use of Russian oil,” Cantwell said in a statement. “I am hopeful that, longer term, this new international cooperation will enable us to accelerate our urgently needed transition to clean energy alternatives.”

Lauren Ellenbecker

Lauren Ellenbecker

Lauren Ellenbecker is a politics reporter for The Columbian.

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