On the House floor on Thursday, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) called out Biden’s Energy Secretary for trying to blame high gas prices on Russian President Vladimir Putin.
With gas prices hitting record highs and continuing to climb, there has been much debate about what is to blame for the increase. The Biden administration, the Democrats, and their allies in mainstream media have attempted to deflect blame onto Putin, while Republicans have pointed out that the prices were skyrocketing long before the invasion of Ukraine.
During Thursday’s hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Hawley grilled Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, pressing her on the rising price of gas and asking what the Biden administration plans to do to lower costs for consumers.
“Secretary Granholm, today in the state of Missouri the average price of gasoline — today, as of this morning — is $4.10, and the average price of diesel is $5.18. And I’m sure you’ve seen the reporting this morning, that now AAA is projecting that gas prices will hit a national average, average, of $6 a gallon by the month of August. Is this acceptable to you?” Hawley asked.
“No, it is not,” Granholm replied, “and you can thank the activity of Vladimir Putin for invading Ukraine and pulling us —”
“Oh nonsense,” the senator interrupted. “With all due respect, Madam Secretary, that’s utter nonsense.”
Hawley then pointed out that prices had been rising for months, long before Russia invaded Ukraine.
“In January of 2021, the average gas price in my state was $2.07,” he explained. “Eight months later, eight months later, long before Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, that price was up over 30 percent, and has been going up consistently since.”
“What are you doing to reverse this administration’s policies that are drawing down our own supply of energy in this country, that are throttling oil and gas production in the United States of America?” Hawley asked.
“With respect sir, it is not administration policies that have affected supply and demand —” Granholm deflected, before Hawley interrupted once again.
“How can you say that when the price of gas was up over 30 percent from January?” he interjected. “Answer my questions… From January to August, the price of gasoline was up over 30 percent in my state alone; it has been a continuous upward tick since then.”
Hawley then went off on Granholm, listing many of the policies enacted by President Joe Biden since taking office that have led to the rise in gas prices.
“He immediately re-entered the Paris Climate Accord, he cancelled the Keystone Pipeline, he halted leasing programs in ANWR, he issued a sixty-day halt on all new oil and gas leases and drilling permits on federal lands and waters — that’s nationwide. That accounts, by the way, for 25 percent of US oil production. He directed federal agencies to eliminate all supports for fossil fuels, he imposed new regulations on oil and gas and methane emissions; those were all just in the first few days!” Hawley said.