‘Stop Negotiating With Terrorists And A Dictator’: GOP Lawmakers Rip Biden’s Move To Ease Venezuela Oil Sanctions

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Several Republican lawmakers slammed the Biden administration for its choice to offer sanctions relief to Venezuela in statements shared with the Daily Caller News Foundation, a deal which The Washington Post first reported Monday.

The Biden administration will ease restrictions on Venezuelan oil exports in exchange for Maduro’s promise to hold a relatively more free and fair presidential election next year, after numerous observers alleged that the 2018 Venezuelan election was rigged, according to The Washington Post. Numerous Republican legislators sharply criticized the deal, which will reportedly be announced publicly on Tuesday, saying that the administration should unleash American energy production rather than striking deals with an autocratic socialist.

“On the heels of a failed negotiation with Iran, the leading sponsor of terrorism, Joe Biden is now negotiating with President Maduro to make up for the Biden Administration’s failed energy policies that result in the United States not being able to maintain our energy security or aid allies like Israel in times of need,” Republican Rep. Jeff Duncan of South Carolina told the DCNF.

“Biden drains our strategic petroleum reserve with no plan to refill, shuts down pipeline capacity in America and closes off large parts of the country from energy production while turning to our adversaries to meet America’s energy needs,” Duncan continued, adding that “Joe Biden needs to stop negotiating with terrorists and a dictator” and that the administration “must adopt commonsense, America-first energy policies that utilize the vast reserves of natural resources at our fingertips.” (RELATED: Leaders From America’s Largest Socialist Organization Met With Venezuelan Dictator Maduro)

Specifically, Maduro would have to agree to undergo a process to eliminate bans against opposition candidates that could run against him, and he would also have to allow for international election observers to oversee the presidential election, according to The Washington Post. Maduro was a longtime loyalist of the late Hugo Chavez, and his regime has been known to violently weaponize the country’s legal system against political dissent and opposition leaders, according to Amnesty International.

“It makes no sense that the Biden administration continues to block energy production at home while negotiating with the Maduro regime to lift sanctions on Venezuelan oil production,” Republican Sen. John Hoeven of North Dakota told the DCNF. “Instead, we should take the handcuffs off our own producers and empower more US production to lessen our reliance on foreign adversaries.”

Former President Donald Trump slapped stringent sanctions on Venezuela’s state-owned oil company in 2019 in an effort to pressure Maduro into stepping down in the wake of the reportedly fraudulent election the year prior.

“The Biden administration has its head in the sand. Nicolas Maduro is an illegitimate dictator who wields power by starving his people,” Republican Sen. Steve Daines of Montana told the DCNF. “No amount of financial incentive will ever convince him to change his ways. This action weakens U.S. national security while also reinforcing Maduro’s yoke of tyranny over the people of Venezuela.”

The Biden administration has hinted that they may move to reduce some of the sanctions for more than a year prior to Monday’s report from The Washington Post.

“Joe Biden’s energy policies put America last. On day one, he killed the Keystone XL pipeline. In week one, he blocked new federal oil and natural gas leasing. By year two, he sold off 40% of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve – taking it to its lowest level in forty years,” Republican Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming said. “His latest gimmick is to ease sanctions on Nicolas Maduro’s brutal regime in Venezuela. America should never beg for oil from socialist dictators or terrorists.”

The White House did not respond immediately to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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