Biden Warns Of “Consequences” Over OPEC

( President Joe Biden and the Democratic Party was dealt a potential major setback only weeks before the midterm elections, but from a foreign source this time.

OPEC+ announced recently that it would cut back on its oil production after coming to an agreement with Russia. That move sent gas prices soaring in the U.S., just as the Biden administration was claiming credit for the continued decrease in prices at the pump.

While appearing on CNN with host Jake Tapper earlier this week, Biden said there’d be “consequences” that Saudi Arabia will face for their role in that decision.

The president didn’t provide specific details on what those consequences would be, but he did say that some action would be taken once members of Congress return to work after the midterm elections.

In early October, OPEC+, the group of nations that produce a large part of the world’s oil supply, said they would be cutting production of oil by 2 million barrels each day. The move was being done, they said, to raise prices. The White House obviously strongly objected to that decision, trying to convince Saudi Arabia, one of the leading members of the group, to change its mind.

As Biden told Tapper on Tuesday:

“There’s going to be some consequences for what they’ve done, with Russia. I’m not going to get into what I’d consider and what I have in mind. But there will be — there will be consequences.”

Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, supported the decision by OPEC+ to cut production. His argument was that the price of oil might fall too low if they didn’t do so.

In addition to causing a rise in gas prices in the U.S., the decision could help Russia benefit from additional revenue from selling oil, while the U.S. and other western nations have taken major action to limit the country’s ability to bring in money.

Already, some members of Congress have put forth proposals that are aimed to send a message to Saudi Arabia and other countries in OPEC+.

Three Democratic members of the House — Susan Wild from Pennsylvania, Sean Casten from Illinois and Tom Malinowski from New Jersey — introduced a bill that would pull all U.S. military forces out of both the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

Over in the Senate, Democrat Bob Menendez — who chairs the Foreign Relations Committee — said the U.S. should freeze cooperating with Saudi Arabia in all forms, “including any arms sales and security cooperation beyond what is absolutely necessary to defend U.S. personnel and interests.”

Menendez also commented on the decision by OPEC+ to cut oil production, saying it would directly help Russia’s war effort in Ukraine.

All this being said, it may be difficult for the U.S. to deal much damage to Saudi Arabia. Robert Singh, who is a professor at Birkbeck, University of London, in the Department of Politics, told Newsweek that it’d be “extremely difficult to pass legislation mandating a military withdrawal.”

He added that the White House would likely oppose that anyway “from strategic calculations. However difficult, the Saudis remain a key player, both on energy and on Iran. Biden will not want to lose what leverage the U.S. still retains.”