Republicans Demand Oil Import Briefing on Iran, Venezuela Talks

  • Oversight GOP members decry outreach to ‘hostile’ countries
  • Lawmakers slam Biden for not increasing domestic production

Bloomberg Government subscribers get the stories like this first. Act now and gain unlimited access to everything you need to know. Learn more.

House Republicans want the Biden administration to brief them on its overtures to “hostile” countries about producing more oil for the global market in response to the Ukraine crisis.

House Oversight and Reform ranking member James Comer (R-Ky.) and other panel Republicans wrote to Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday requesting a briefing by March 24 about any “plans to obtain oil from hostile foreign countries,” including Iran and Venezuela, “instead of encouraging energy production in the United States.”

President Joe Biden last week announced a ban on Russian oil, natural gas, and coal imports. The move was in response to Russia’s February invasion of Ukraine, as well as bipartisan pressure from Congress to restrict President Vladimir Putin’s main source of financing for the war.

U.S. and U.K. Ban Russia Oil Imports, Squeezing Putin on War

Photo: Manaure Quintero/Bloomberg via Getty Images
The PDVSA Melones Operational Complex facility in El Tigre, Venezuela, on Oct. 15, 2021.

Congressional Republicans and the energy industry have criticized Biden for not ramping up U.S. oil and gas production during the crisis. Administration officials have talked with autocratic oil-producing countries, including Iran, Venezuela, and Saudi Arabia, about helping ease the burgeoning global energy crisis.

“Trading the imports from one irrational and unpredictable dictatorial regime to another is not sound foreign policy,” said the letter, adding that the “United States must position itself as the major global energy producer.”

The Energy Department on Wednesday approved two export requests from Cheniere Energy Inc. projects in Texas and Louisiana to ship liquefied natural gas abroad, mainly to Europe.

“It is imperative that we have a better understanding of the Biden administration’s plan for the United States to rely on foreign oil and gas imports to the detriment of domestic sources,” Comer and others wrote.

A spokesperson for the State Department said the agency generally doesn’t comment on congressional correspondence.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kellie Lunney in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Anna Yukhananov at; Sarah Babbage at

Stay informed with more news like this – from the largest team of reporters on Capitol Hill – subscribe to Bloomberg Government today. Learn more.