WASHINGTON–U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Tuesday joined CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper to discuss President Biden’s announcement to ban the import of Russian oil, liquefied natural gas, and coal to the United States.


On the cumulative impact of the Biden administration’s sanctions on Russia, Murphy said: “I think there's a moral imperative for the United States to not send money to fund Putin's war, but we are a very small share of Russia's exports. And so doing this without Europe, I don't think it's necessarily going to fundamentally change Putin's calculus. It's ultimately going to be the accumulation of the impact of all of these economic sanctions that may eventually cause Putin to realize he may have a choice to be made between perpetuating this war in Ukraine and keeping a hold on power.”


On why the United States needs to use this moment to rethink our energy policy, Murphy said: “Let's just admit the insanity of a U.S. economy that continues to run on oil that is provided to us by dictators. The reality is if we're not getting this oil from Russia, we're likely going to be importing more from another brutal dictator in Saudi Arabia, for instance, or we may have to go to Venezuela for oil. We should ultimately learn our lesson here and become energy independent and choose to invest in clean domestic energy so we never have to choose between one dictator versus another.”


“I think you need to remember when you talk about domestic oil production, there's no guarantee that  that stays in the United States. When we produce oil here in the United States, that goes to the highest bidder. Sometimes that's here in the U.S., but often times, that oil gets sent to China, that oil gets sent to Europe. Renewable energy stays in the United States. When we are producing energy from solar panels or wind turbine, that stays on the American grid. So if you really care about keeping American-made energy in the United States, you should be investing in renewables,” Murphy added.


On how to help Americans who are already feeling squeezed at the gas pump, Murphy said: “[I]t's really easy for the political elites in Washington to tell low income consumers they should pay more for a gallon of gasoline in order to save Ukraine. That's a lot harder for people that don't have the extra money in Waterbury, Connecticut. So I think in the short run, that probably does mean we're going to have to bring in more oil from places like Saudi Arabia. I'm interested in a proposal that some of my colleagues have here to temporarily suspend the gas tax, or lower the gas tax to try to defray the costs for consumers, but I think as long as this war is happening in Ukraine, the market is going to price in an amount of instability that's going to keep energy prices high.”


You can watch Murphy’s full interview here.