President Joe Biden is responsible for rising gasoline prices, and not Russian President Vladimir Putin and his threat of invading Ukraine, Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., told Newsmax on Wednesday.
"This administration came to office started shutting down energy projects in America and making it more expensive, more difficult to invest, and to basically harvest the enormous energy resources we have here, right at home," Thune told Wednesday's "Prime News. "[Biden] got us away from the concept of energy independence, and it forces us now to turn to other countries around the world, particularly unreliable countries, to get our energy needs met again."
Thune said it is ironic now because when Biden entered office in January 2021, he immediately shut down the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would have brought natural gas and oil from Canada to the United States, but then allowed the Russian Nord Stream 2 Pipeline to proceed, freeing Russia to supply energy to European nations, and then refusing to place sanctions on that line when Russia started a military build-up on the Ukrainian border.
Earlier this week, Biden said he would close the Nord Stream 2 Pipeline project, which is just weeks away from becoming operational if Russia invades Ukraine.
"[Nord Stream 2] will not happen," Biden said in an address to the American people about the Ukrainian crisis.
That pipeline is expected to provide up to 98% of the energy needed by European countries like Germany and Finland when it is operating.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the administration has been "planning for weeks" how to respond in the event Russia invades Ukraine, and how that might impact the United States.
"We have been in touch with allies and partners suppliers out there on the global stage for weeks now in preparation for a range of impacts of, you know, in anticipation of an invasion or actually an impact of an invasion, both for natural gas and oil prices on the market," she said Wednesday. "We will continue those engagements. As I've said, and I said [Tuesday], for the president, all options remain on the table."
Thune said the reason for the pain at the pump is more domestic.
"The reason you have 40% increase in the cost of gasoline in this country is because we have a pretty high demand coming out of the pandemic," Thune said. "And we don't have the supply needed because this administration decided that, in the interest of their obsession with electric vehicles, we no longer had to develop American energy.
"And we are paying the price for it at the pump."
Thune said the increase in prices hurts low- and middle-income families, effectively giving them a $3,500 per year tax increase.
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