By RAELYNN RICARTE
THE CENTER SQUARE
(The Center Square) – Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane, called out President Joe Biden Wednesday for shifting the blame of surging fuel prices away from his “radical energy policies.”
During an appearance on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers told hosts Joe Kernen and Becky Quick that President Biden needs to quit deflecting responsibility for the energy crisis that is, in large part, of his own making.
“This administration on day one made clear that they were going to shut down American energy for their own political agenda,” she said. “It is harming Americans, it’s making us less secure, it’s increasing the prices, it’s making it harder for hard-working American families and we need to flip the switch.”
Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers said President Biden sent the U.S. down the path toward an energy crisis on his first day in office. After canceling the presidential permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline, she said the administration then began preventing energy companies from having any capital expenditures into new production.
As an example, Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers said President Biden recently canceled three oil and gas lease sales scheduled in the Gulf of Mexico and off the coast of Alaska, removing millions of acres from possible drilling.
Although the president regularly blames Russia’s invasion of Ukraine for record-high gas prices, she pointed out that the cost of fuel was already on the rise when that war began in late February.
Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers expressed concern during her CNBC interview on June 15 that Mr. Biden was setting the stage to enact price controls not seen since the 1970s.
“That seems to be the direction they’re signaling with letters that threaten President Biden plans to use “all tools at [his] disposal,” said Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers.
President Biden sent a letter Tuesday to seven top oil executives demanding their companies explain the decision to limit refining capacity. He announced that his administration would hold an “emergency meeting” to discuss ways of stemming the crisis.
Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers said there is no evidence oil companies are price gouging Americans at the pump. However, House Democrats passed a bill last month empowering the president to declare an energy emergency and crack down on firms deemed to be price gouging.
Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers and other GOP leaders countered that the administration could end the crisis by approving new drilling leases and other critical infrastructure, such as pipelines.
“When we have panic at the pump because of the surging prices that impact everything, it makes it harder on hardworking Americans,” she said. “It is increasing the cost of food and the administration made it clear on day one that this was their agenda, that they were going to shut down American energy, and it’s time to flip the switch.
In a June 13 interview with Neil Cavuto on FOX News, Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers said the president needs to quit shutting down nuclear and coal plants, or going to dictators around the world to ask them to produce more oil.
Instead, she reiterated that President Biden should be working with American energy producers to get more fuel into the marketplace.
Toward that end, she and Congressman Bruce Westerman, R-Arkansas, have introduced the American Energy Independence from Russia Act.
The legislation would require the president to come up with an energy security plan and take action to unleash America’s oil and natural gas production to offset Russian imports.
This bill would authorize the construction and operation of the Keystone Pipeline free up LNG exports to boost natural gas production, restart oil and gas leasing on federal lands and waters, and protect energy and mineral development.