OPEC+ nations deciding to reduce oil production by 2 million barrels a day is a major blow to President Joe Biden’s foreign policy and has led many congressional Democrats to call for the President to rethink ties between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia.
In July, Biden visited Saudi Arabia to strengthen diplomatic ties between the White House and Riyadh. The trip was viewed as a necessary evil following gas prices reaching a record national average of $5.01 a month earlier.
The U.S. has had a strained relationship with the middle eastern nation for years, only exacerbated by the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.
But the human rights abuses and the rocky relationship were water under the bridge when Biden visited in July. The purpose of his visit was to urge the world’s second-largest oil-producing nation to ramp up oil production in the wake of the supply strain caused by the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
But Wednesday’s announcement by OPEC+ to cut oil production by 2 million barrels per day cut off the olive branch, leading to several lawmakers calling for Biden to bring down the hammer against Saudi Arabia.
On Thursday (October 6), Senator Dick Durbin noted Saudi Arabia’s many infractions, tweeting: “From unanswered questions about 9/11 & the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, to conspiring w/ [Russian President Vladimir] Putin to punish the US w/ higher oil prices, the royal Saudi family has never been a trustworthy ally of our nation.”
He then called for U.S. “foreign policy to imagine a world without their alliance.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders called for the U.S. to stop providing military assistance to Saudi Arabia, a sentiment shared by Democratic Reps. Tom Malinowski (N.J.), Sean Casten (Ill.), and Susan Wild (Pa.). The three lawmakers have introduced legislation to withdraw U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia, explaining that Wednesday’s announcement was a “turning point in our relationship with our Gulf partners.”