Congressional lawmakers criticized the United States’ continued reliance on foreign energy Wednesday after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC+) agreed to slash oil production.
Republican lawmakers said the OPEC+ decision would only force energy and gasoline prices higher for American workers.
“This is the danger of relying on our adversaries for energy,” said Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla. “Americans will feel the effects of this decision when they see prices increase at the pump.”
“We need to unleash American energy production,” said Rep. Billy Long, R-Mo. “It’s ridiculous that we are relying on foreign powers for oil when less than two years ago we were a net exporter of energy.”
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“OPEC+ is taking advantage of President Biden’s reliance on foreign oil and slashing supply, which will drive up prices that Louisianians pay,” added Sen. John Kennedy, R-La. “It’s as simple and sad as that.”
Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Banks agreed that while many were fretting about OPEC+, domestic oil production has fallen under Biden.
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“US oil production is down 1.2 million barrels per day since it peaked under President Trump,” said Banks, R-Ind. “Biden must stop his war on American energy.”
“President Biden begged overseas dictators to increase oil production, and they rejected him,” said Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming, the top Republican on the Senate Energy Committee. “Now Democrats are scrambling to deal with an energy crisis their extreme policies helped create.”
Democrats pointed to the decision as further proof the US needs to end its reliance on foreign oil companies and embrace clean energy.
“This OPEC+ announcement should serve as a reminder to all of us that true American energy independence comes from clean energy,” said Senate Environment Committee Chairman Tom Carper, D-Del.
“The faster we decarbonize our economy, the sooner we won’t have to worry about this,” said Rep. Sean Casten, D-Ill. “Until then, don’t forget the obvious: people who sell oil want to sell at the highest possible price. That is just as true for domestic as foreign producers.”
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Not every Democrat called for an end to fossil fuels. Senate Energy Committee Chairman Joe Manchin said the OPEC+ decision was another reason to boost domestic production.
“We have been blessed with an abundance of domestic energy resources, which we can produce cleaner than elsewhere in the world, and with that we have the ability to ensure energy independence and security for ourselves and our allies,” said Manchin, DW.Va .
OPEC+ announced Wednesday it was slashing oil production by two million barrels a day. The decision came after the White House had pushed leading OPEC+ members like Saudi Arabia not to make drastic cuts in production and push energy prices higher for US consumers.
“The President is disappointed by the shortsighted decision by OPEC+ to cut production quotas while the global economy is dealing with the continued negative impact of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine,” the White House said in a statement. “At a time when maintaining a global supply of energy is of paramount importance, this decision will have the most negative impact on lower- and middle-income countries that are already reeling from elevated energy prices.”
Oil prices dropped earlier this year from $120 to $90 a barrel over fears of an economic downturn in the wake of rising interest rates.
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Since then, OPEC+ has steadily cut production in an effort to drive up the price of oil on the global market. The surging price of oil is likely to impact prices at the pump since gasoline is derived from petroleum.