Three House Democrats are introducing a bill to remove U.S. defense systems from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in response to the OPEC+ decision to cut oil production by 2 million barrels per day – a move that is expected to drive up gas prices in the U.S.
Reps. Tom Molinowski, D-N.J., Sean Casten, D-Ill., and Susan Wild, D-Pa., called out Saudi Arabia and the UAE – both OPEC members – after President Biden had tried to work with them. The House members said the U.S. needs to reevaluate its relationship with both nations.
“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 three Democrats said in a joint statement. “Both countries have long relied on an American military presence in the Gulf to protect their security and oil fields. We see no reason why American troops and contractors should continue to provide this service to countries that are actively working against us. If Saudi Arabia and the UAE want to help Putin, they should look to him for their defense.”
The House members went on to call OPEC’s decision “a turning point in our relationship with our Gulf partners” and said that if the UAE and Saudi Arabia want to continue having a relationship with the U.S., they need to work with the U.S. “in advancing what is now our most urgent national security objective: the defeat of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.” They claimed that “by significantly boosting global oil prices, OPEC’s decision appears designed to increase Russia’s oil export revenues, enabling Putin to continue his war crimes in Ukraine, and undercutting Western sanctions.”
Their bill, the “Strained Partnership Act,” takes its name and virtually all of its language from a 2020 bill sponsored by Republican Senators Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., and Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska. Both bills call for the removal of “[a]ll United States Armed Forces and equipment, including Patriot missile batteries and the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system” from Saudia Arabia within 9- days of the bill’s enactment. The only difference between the two bills is the new one from the Democrats says the defenses should also be removed from the United Arab Emirates.
The bill, like its predecessor, says that the removed missile batteries and THAAD system should be “to the extent practicable, be relocated to another location or locations in the Middle East, with the priority mission of protecting United States Armed Forces.”
American Petroleum Institute President Mike Sommers called the OPEC cut “really bad news for American consumers” in a Wednesday appearance on “America’s Newsroom.” Sommers blamed the Biden administration for having the U.S. rely on foreign oil, saying it “was a choice” for the U.S. to be “about a million barrels of production down from where we were in 2019.”