Support for President Joe Biden’s energy policy is wearing thin on Capitol Hill.
Even reliable partisan Democratic senators are starting to raise questions about energy, with the United States failing to produce enough natural gas to mitigate record gas prices.
Policy makers have proposed doubling down on American domestic energy production, in order to meet Western energy needs and boost the American economy with new exports.
The Biden administration has failed to act on such an idea, drawing a mild rebuke from a top Senate Democrat.
“I don’t know that there’s a coherent strategy, and if there is, I think the messages are mixed,” Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine said in a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday.
Kaine’s no backbench Senator. You may remember that he ran as Hillary Clinton’s running mate in the 2016 election.
“I don’t really believe that the U.S. is full-throated leaning into helping our European allies deal with their energy needs.”
“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has spiked energy prices internationally, with European governments ending the purchase of Russian energy in the continent.”
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“If we’re the largest energy producer in the world and we know that, at least transitionally, our European allies need energy from sources other than Russia, that us going to Saudi Arabia and say, ‘Please produce more energy when we’re not willing to do it ourselves’ — I just don’t get it,” Kaine said, questioning a State Department representative.
The Biden administration canceled two major oil extraction leases on federal lands on Wednesday, raising even more questions about energy production.
Kaine asked State Department representatives if they had considered the cancellation of the gas leases as it pertained to global energy needs.
The senator also suggested that the Biden administration was creating a situation in which the West would have to “beg” Saudi Arabia for buffed oil production.
Kaine isn’t the only Democrat raising questions about Biden’s energy policy.
Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a perpetual thorn in Biden’s side, accused the administration of making a “lame excuse” to cancel vital oil production contracts.
NEW: Manchin rips Biden for canceling offshore oil and gas lease sales. He ain’t happy. “Just awful,” @Sen_JoeManchin told me. He also doesn’t buy the administration’s rationale of legal uncertainty. “That’s a very lame excuse” https://t.co/oLHkotgx29
— Joshua Siegel (@SiegelScribe) May 12, 2022
Biden’s reluctance to embrace American energy production has made the Western world reliable on oil imports from states governed by dictators, such as Venezuela, Russia and Saudi Arabia.