The Biden administration is facing bipartisan backlash over the possibility of easing sanctions against Venezuela in order to allow the country to increase exports of oil.
There was skepticism from both Democrats and Republicans toward the idea after a group of U.S. officials visited Venezuela in the highest-level trip to the South American country in years, as the White House considers whether to ban oil imports from Russia.
The visit comes amid the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine and the imposition of harsh sanctions against the country by the U.S. and its allies. Russia is a major oil and gas exporter.
Some senior U.S. officials traveled to Venezuela on Saturday and conducted talks with President Nicolás Maduro’s government.
Venezuela was once a major exporter of crude oil to the U.S. but a combination of mismanagement and U.S. sanctions severely curtailed exports.
The idea of easing sanctions against Venezuela in order to potentially supplement losses from a ban on Russian oil was met with anger and criticism from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) shared a video on Twitter showing Maduro announcing the resumption of talks with the opposition. That announcement came after his government’s meeting with the U.S. delegation.