Senate Republicans Demand Biden's Action: BLOCK Oil Sanctions Relief For THIS Country

By Alan Hume | Wednesday, 17 April 2024 11:10 PM
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A group of influential Senate Republicans, led by Senator Dan Sullivan of Alaska, has called on President Biden to prevent the easing of oil sanctions on Venezuela.

The lawmakers argue that the Venezuelan government, known for its oppressive tactics, has not fulfilled the necessary conditions for fair elections, a key requirement for the relief of sanctions.

The seven senators, in a letter to the president, urged him to revoke General License 44, due for renewal later this week. The license, issued by the Biden administration last year, was granted on the condition that Venezuela would ensure fair elections. However, the senators argue that the Venezuelan government has failed to uphold its end of the agreement.

"History has proven time and time again that appeasing dictators does not work. We strongly urge you to reinstate and fully enforce all U.S. sanctions on the [Nicolás] Maduro regime," the senators wrote. "We must not cede American leverage by lifting U.S. sanctions while the Maduro government deliberately disregards its obligations."

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The senators further warned that if the U.S. does not take a firm stand on ensuring free and fair elections in Venezuela, it would embolden other authoritarian regimes such as China, Iran, and Russia.

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In October, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro agreed to freer elections as part of a deal with the nation's opposition leaders. In return, the U.S. Treasury Department eased sanctions on Venezuela's crucial oil sector. However, the Maduro regime soon began violating the agreement, cracking down on the opposition and imprisoning political opponents ahead of the 2024 presidential election.

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The October agreement allowed for oil and gas transactions with Venezuela. This followed a separate license granted by the Biden administration to California-based energy firm Chevron to continue drilling in Venezuela. U.S. oil imports from Venezuela have since surged from zero barrels in December 2022 to nearly 5 million barrels in January.

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In 2019, the Trump administration imposed heavy sanctions on Venezuela's oil industry following a dispute between Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaido over the 2018 presidential election. These sanctions led to a significant drop in U.S. imports of Venezuelan oil.

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In a statement to Fox News Digital, Senator Sullivan expressed deep concern over Biden's potential continuation of sanctions relief for Venezuela and recent actions to curb domestic production.

"Joe Biden needs to wake the hell up and stop appeasing dictators and the eco-colonialists – fast," he said. "The world is on fire and Biden is still focused on appeasing his most far-left radical supporters at the expense of America’s national security."

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Sullivan also criticized the Department of the Interior's expected regulations blocking off 13 million acres of land across the National Petroleum Reserve, an area in North Slope Borough, Alaska, set aside by Congress for resource development.

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"The NPR-A is one of the world’s most prolific oil basins and Biden wants to lock up more than half of it. Literally, during the same week, his administration is expected to renew their lifted oil sanctions for the Maduro dictatorship in Venezuela," Sullivan said.

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"Alaska, more than any other state, has taken the brunt of this administration’s failed energy policy," he continued. "This rule, once finalized, is on track to be the 61st action by his administration targeting Alaska. Like many others, it ignores the laws on the books and has been done without real consultation of impacted Alaska Native communities."

The White House did not respond to requests for comment at the time of publication.

Joining Sullivan in the letter to Biden were Republican Senators James Risch of Idaho, John Barrasso of Wyoming, Bill Hagerty of Tennessee, Pete Ricketts of Nebraska, and Marco Rubio and Rick Scott of Florida.

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