WASHINGTON (Daily Caller) — The Biden administration is expected to soon announce it would ease sanctions on Venezuelan oil amid the ongoing energy crisis, several media outlets reported.
The federal government will ease “some” of the energy sanctions on Venezuela, two senior administration officials told CNN. In addition, U.S. oil corporation Chevron will be allowed to enter into negotiations with Venezuelan state-owned firm PDVSA over potential continued operations in the South American oil-rich nation.
As part of the deal, Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro agreed to open talks with opposition leader Juan Guaidó, Reuters reported.
“[The U.S. agreed to lift some sanctions] on the basis of ambitious, concrete and irreversible outcomes that empower the Venezuelan people to determine the future in their country through democratic elections,” one official told CNN. (RELATED: Gas Prices Hit All-Time High As White House Turns To Dictators For Help)
While the U.S. has pursued an aggressive sanctions regime against Venezuela for more than 15 years, in 2019 the Trump administration imposed a fresh swath of restrictions on the South American nation’s oil industry to renew pressure on Maduro, a 2021 report from the Congressional Research Service showed. Trump administration White House officials said the sanctions would reduce Venezuela’s oil exports by $11 billion.
As a result of the Trump-era sanctions, the U.S. hasn’t imported oil from Venezuela since May 2019, according to government data. The U.S. imported about 462,000 barrels of oil per day from Venezuela in 2018, and it imported 670,000 barrels per day from Russia in 2021.
Chevron has recently lobbied the federal government to remove the sanctions, according to Senate disclosures.
“Our experience buying Russian energy should have taught President Biden that buying energy from tyrants is a dangerous proposition,” Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member John Barrasso said in a statement.
“Yet President Biden continues to reward our enemies by waiving sanctions while his administration does its best to kill American energy production. Funding despots isn’t in the national interest. Supporting American energy is,” he continued.
Venezuela consistently ranks as one of the least “free” countries in the world, according to Freedom House.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration has increasingly moved to restrict further domestic oil and gas production. The Department of the Interior canceled the three remaining federal offshore oil and gas lease sales last week and dramatically scaled back the federal onshore program in April.
The average price of gasoline reached an all-time record $4.52 a gallon on Tuesday, according to AAA data.
The Daily Caller’s Thomas Catenacci contributed to the contents of this report.
WASHINGTON (The Hill) — A new NBC News poll shows President Biden’s job approval rating has dipped to another low, with just 39 percent of Americans approving of the job he’s doing and 56 percent disapproving.
Americans are dinging the president on inflation, the economy and border security, as they have been for much of his presidency. Only 37 percent of Americans view Biden in a positive light, according to the poll, which shows his favorability rating hovers around the same percentage currently as former President Trump’s.
Biden appears to have lost ground once again after making some gains. Earlier this month, 42 percent of Americans approved of Biden’s job in a Washington Post-ABC News poll, which was up 5 percentage points from a previous poll in February.
In the NBC News poll, 59 percent of Americans approve of Biden’s handling of the coronavirus, where the president has consistently earned the best marks.
But only 33 percent of Americans approve of his handling of the economy, and only 23 percent approve of his handling of inflation and the cost of living, two issues that are likely to be among the most important at the ballot box in November.
Gas prices have surged to record highs this year, topping an average national price of $4.47 per gallon, while prices at grocery stores have also seen steep increases. Last week, reports of a shortage of baby formula triggered another round of anguish among American families.
About 41 percent of Americans say they are “somewhat satisfied” with their current financial situation, according to the poll, with 16 percent saying they are very dissatisfied with their financial situation.
Americans rank cost of living, the economy, voting rights and abortion in that order as the top four issues facing the nation.
The poll was conducted from May 5 to May 7 and then May 9 to May 10 among 1,000 respondents. The margin of error is 3 percentage points.
The Hill’s Brad Dress contributed to the contents of this report.