While Republicans have taken shots at Joe Biden for weeks over rising energy prices, oil and gas have now risen to a point where even Democratic lawmakers are pressing the president.
The Democrat criticism especially ramped up after reports earlier this week the Biden administration was seeking to replace embargoed Russian oil with crude from other authoritarian regimes including Iran and Venezuela.
Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), who is chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, argued that the U.S. should “not be trading in one tyrant for another to meet America’s energy needs.”
“We need to blow a hole in the Russian economy. We need to lower gas prices for American consumers. Everything should be on the table,” he said in an interview, according to Becker News. “But I don’t support strengthening one dictator to hurt another. And I don’t think you’ll see us do that.”
Meanwhile, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) also lashed out at the president for turning to Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro.
“Nicolás Maduro is a cancer to our hemisphere and we should not breathe new life into his reign of torture and murder,” Menendez said in a statement.
“As such, I would strongly oppose any action that fills the pockets of regime oligarchs with oil profits while Maduro continues to deprive Venezuelans of basic human rights, freedoms, and even food,” he noted.
The Becker report added:
Biden officials recently traveled to Venezuela to explore the prospect of lifting sanctions, including renewing energy imports to offset the banned Russian oil.
Meanwhile, Biden has turned to authoritarian Middle Eastern regimes to assist with global oil supplies, but has thus far been rebuked.
The Saudi crown prince and the United Arab Emerates sheikh have both rejected President Biden’s overtures to aid the United States on lowering world oil and gas prices.
“The White House unsuccessfully tried to arrange calls between President Biden and the de facto leaders of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as the U.S. was working to build international support for Ukraine and contain a surge in oil prices,” Middle East and U.S. officials said, as reported in the Wall Street Journal.
“Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the U.A.E.’s Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan both declined U.S. requests to speak to Mr. Biden in recent weeks, the officials said, as Saudi and Emirati officials have become more vocal in recent weeks in their criticism of American policy in the Gulf,” WSJ noted.
“There was some expectation of a phone call, but it didn’t happen,“ said a U.S. official about Biden’s planned call to the Saudis. ”It was part of turning on the spigot [of Saudi oil].”
Biden is blaming Russia for escalating oil and gas prices, not his policies. He has also been criticized for not making it easier for American producers to ramp up production.
Also, a Russian diplomat on Tuesday warned the world against shunning Russian oil because it could lead to economy-busting energy prices and a global depression.
“It is absolutely clear that a rejection of Russian oil would lead to catastrophic consequences for the global market,” Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said. “The surge in prices would be unpredictable. It would be $300 per barrel if not more.”
“So far, we are not taking such a decision,” Novak added. “But European politicians with their statements and accusations against Russia push us towards that.”