Democrats on Tuesday twice accused Russian President Vladimir Putin and leaders of “raising oil prices” at high gas prices, as Republicans said President Biden’s energy policies were to blame.
New York MP Hakim Jeffries, chairman of the Democratic House of Representatives, called on oil and gas leaders to “show some patriotism” by passing on some of their “record profits” to ordinary consumers with lower gas prices.
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Comments at press conferences in the Capitol on Tuesday reflected competing narratives about the reasons for high gas prices ahead of closely watched hearings in the House of Representatives with oil and gas leaders.
The average gas price in the country is $ 4,176 per gallon, which is close to the record of $ 4,331 set on March 11, according to AAA.
Democrats on the House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce will hold a hearing on Wednesday entitled “Peeled at the gas station: big oil and America’s pain at the pump.” The heads of BP, Chevron Corp., Shell USA, ExxonMobil Corp. will testify. and others.
Jeffries said that this week Democrats will show the whole story of rising gas prices, blaming both “Putin’s price increase” and “price increase” on the pump.
He said oil and gas executives are taking their profits and reinvesting them in the shareholder class, not the consumer class.
“I think it’s important for American corporations – as we’ve seen what others are doing – to show some patriotism and side with ordinary Americans,” Jeffries said Tuesday when asked to watch the hearing.
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“I think there will be an opportunity to study with these gas and oil leaders what such patriotism should look like,” Jeffries continued. “At the very least, it should include ensuring that consumers and ordinary Americans feel some relief in the form of lower gas prices, given the incredible record profits oil and gas companies are making now.”
But Republicans are drumming that Biden’s policies – including the abolition of the Keystone XL pipeline and the freezing of new oil and gas leases in federal lands – began to raise gas prices even before the war with Ukraine.
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Speaker of the Republican Conference of the House of Representatives Eliza Stefanik, RN.Y., said that the rise in energy prices preceded the Russian-Ukrainian war and is not the fault of energy companies.
“We will see Democrats try again to transfer money to their hearings tomorrow, where they are trying to accuse American oil producers and Russia of high gas prices,” Stefanik said. “But make no mistake, the American people are smart. Joe Biden and the Democrats in the House of Representatives are in control of this energy crisis.”
Minority House Steve Scalis, R-La., Said Biden’s policies harmed American interests and declined to comment on Jeffries’ “patriotic” comments.
“It’s not patriotic to shut down American energy, and one of the reasons for such high prices is that President Biden has artificially limited America’s ability to produce energy,” he said.
The hearing will begin at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.
One of the topics that both Republicans and Democrats are expected to address is why domestic oil and gas production is not increasing. Fossil fuel companies hold more than 9,000 approved but unused drilling permits on public lands and waters.
The White House says that if there was a desire to drill more, the companies would use the current lease.
“We will also ask about some of the myths that exist, such as the 9,000 permits that President Biden wants to talk about,” Scalis said. “Oil companies in many cases do not operate on these leases, we hear from them that they cannot formalize the leases they have because every federal regulatory agency is blocking their ability to actually go on training in America.”
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Aside from regulatory issues, spokesman Jeff Duncan, RS.C., said the land where the leases are being held may not be oil-rich.
“[We] want to ask executives why they don’t produce them, and let them explain, ”Duncan said.“ Every rental you buy, you speculate. There is no water under every square inch of your yard and there is no oil under every square inch of rent. ”