Republicans in Florida’s House delegation are pushing back against the Biden administration’s oil and sanctions negotiations with Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro.
The Trump administration sanctioned oil exports from Venezuela in 2019 in an attempt to force Maduro to leave office, following a 2019 election marred with fraud and voter intimidation.
Several Biden administration officials met with Maduro Saturday, March 5. Venezuela currently holds six Americans employed by the oil company Citgo in prison on trumped-up embezzlement charges, according to the Associated Press.
The Biden administration is also considering importing oil from Iran.
A nationwide ban on Russian oil has widespread bipartisan support. Biden signed an executive order banning energy products from Russia on Tuesday, although the administration worked behind the scenes to kill congressional legislation.
“We call on you today to show us your values by halting any plans to import from Iran, Russia, or Venezuela. Just the mere thought of reaching out to the Maduro regime is a slap in the face to the half a million Venezuelans that call America home who fled his vicious and failed socialist nation,” the Republicans wrote to President Joe Biden and Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm in a letter obtained exclusively by the Daily Caller.
Read the letter here:
Republicans are urging the Biden administration to roll back regulations targeting the American oil and natural gas industries in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In addition to canceling major projects like the Keystone XL pipeline, the executive branch issued a ban on new federal drilling leases, and has slow-walked other drilling permits. The average price of gas broke $4.10 per gallon for the first time in American history Monday, breaking a record set in 2008.
They are also demanding that the administration host a briefing with members of Congress to discuss its energy and sanctions negotiations with Iran, Venezuela and Russia.
“As a member of Florida, home to the largest Venezuelan community in our country, it is alarming to hear that the Biden administration is courting increased oil production from adversaries such as the evil, corrupt, and deadly Maduro regime,” Rep. Byron Donalds, who organized the letter, told the Daily Caller in a statement. “Hundreds of thousands of proud Venezuelans fled this socialist regime for safety, opportunity, and freedom, and it is unfathomable that Biden is choosing to embolden this tyrant. Under President Trump, America was energy independent — now under Biden — we depend on oil from Maduro, Putin, and the Ayatollah of Iran. We do not need their blood-stained oil, we need American-made oil.”
Other signatories include Reps. Scott Franklin, Carlos Giménez, Daniel Webster, and Mario Díaz-Balart.
Biden and White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki have denied that the administration’s policies have impacted energy production or the price of gas.
“It is simply not true that my administration or policies are holding back domestic energy production,” Biden said Tuesday.