Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders called for the Biden administration to issue a forceful response to an OPEC move that threatens to raise the price of gas, Common Dreams reports.
OPEC and its allies this week announced they will cut oil production by about 2% amid concerns of an economic slowdown.
Sanders slammed the group over its "blatant attempt to increase gas prices at the pump.”
"We must end OPEC's illegal price-fixing cartel, eliminate military assistance to Saudi Arabia, and move aggressively to renewable energy," Sanders said.
The Biden White House has said it is considering a number of policies to “reduce OPEC’s control over energy prices” but has not specifically said it would target assistance to the Saudis.
Calls to crack down on Saudis:
A recent report from the Government Accountability Office found that the Pentagon delivered over $54 billion in military aid to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates between 2015 and 2021.
Sanders ally Rep. Ro Khanna also penned an op-ed on Wednesday calling to end "missile and weapons system sales Saudi so desperately needs."
"By siding with Russia in hiking oil prices and sabotaging our economy," Khanna’s op-ed said. "The Saudis have really outfoxed themselves this time—it was a time for choosing, and they picked the wrong side."
Democratic criticism mounts:
Democratic Reps. Tom Malinowski, Sean Casten, and Susan Wild introduced legislation that would require the US to remove troops and missile defense systems from Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
"Saudi Arabia and the UAE's drastic cut in oil production, despite President Biden's overtures to both countries in recent months, is a hostile act against the United States and a clear signal that they have chosen to side with Russia in its war against Ukraine," the House Democrats said.
Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey said he would introduce a bill allowing US officials to “initiate dispute proceedings” against OPEC members.
"As we build our clean energy future, we must stand up to the oil-soaked global cartel that seeks to abuse its power to raise prices and boost their profits," Markey said in a statement. "Today's OPEC announcement is a reminder that as long as the United States is dependent on foreign oil and on domestic oil that is priced on a global market, the supply and cost of the energy Americans use to operate our cars, heat our homes, and power our economy is reliant on decisions made by and for hostile fossil-fueled regimes."