Sen. Angus King said Tuesday that people are willing to feel an even greater pinch at the pump as long as they know the financial hit will help the people of Ukraine.
“Nobody likes the high gas prices,” Mr. King, Maine independent, said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “But people are really committed to defending the country of Ukraine and making a contribution to do so.”
The Biden administration and lawmakers have been weighing whether to ban Russian oil in response to the invasion of Ukraine at a time when prices for regular gasoline in the U.S. have soared past $4 a gallon.
Responding to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the United States, the European Union and their allies have launched a series of economic sanctions against Russia that have, among other things, targeted oligarchs and the entire banking system.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday the United States and European allies are exploring banning imports of Russian oil.
Top congressional lawmakers, meanwhile, announced Monday that they reached a bipartisan deal on legislation to ban Russian energy imports and suspend normal trade relations with Russia and Belarus for the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
Mr. King said this weekend in Maine that the most frequent comment he received from constituents was “why the hell are we buying Russian oil?” and that he was told “let’s stop buying Russian oil — even though that could well increase gas prices.”
The senator said he agreed with a colleague on Capitol Hill who made the case that paying a little bit more for gasoline — on a temporary basis — is not much of a price to pay given that the people of Ukraine are dying.
“We can’t sugarcoat the fact that there are not going to be impacts in this country [from the various] sanctions that are being applied — particularly on the energy side,” he said.