Spiking oil and gas prices are yet another threat to the ability of Democrats to hold onto power in November’s midterm elections. The average price for a gallon of unleaded this week rose to its highest level since record-keeping began with no signs of stopping.
The President on Tuesday shouted to reporters that Putin was responsible for rising gas prices but it drew scorn from Republicans, economists and fact-checkers. While the price of gas has continued to rise over the last three weeks since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, it had already risen by 50 percent under the Biden administration.
National media outlets from The New York Times, MSNBC and Axios were quick to defend Biden, even as the facts show otherwise.
Republicans argue that President Biden gave Putin leverage, and now Iran and Venezuela, by canceling the Keystone XL pipeline and freezing new oil and gas leases on federal lands. Press Secretary Jen Psaki has stated numerous times that oil companies have “9,000 leases” for oil, which is true, but did not mention the Biden administration has stopped issuing permits to extract the oil or build pipelines to deliver it.
Some Democrats have attempted to blame the rising prices on gouging and monopolies. Democratic Senators Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., have blamed the hikes on the “greed” of fossil fuel industries. Others, such as Democratic senators Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire and Mark Kelly of Arizona, who are facing tough reelection races in their states, have called for temporarily eliminating the federal gas tax. They introduced a bill last month that would scrap the 18.4 cents-per-gallon federal tax through the rest of 2022.
Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., ripped the Democrats pushing the gas tax holiday as “looking for political cover” ahead of the midterms.
“I will note that people promoting this tend to be Democrats who are up for reelection, looking for a way to offset the fact that they have been opposing development of America’s traditional fuels,” he said. “Instead, now that we’ve got a spike in prices, they’re looking for political cover, if you will. Another excuse not to do what is politically inconvenient.
“I once read that the party in power always loses when gas prices are above a certain threshold. They are currently above that threshold.”
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., who also sits on the committee, agreed.
“President Biden should immediately reverse his devastating policies that are causing gas prices to skyrocket and are giving Putin leverage against the rest of the world and return to the policies that were working under President Trump to create American energy dominance with gas prices below $2 a gallon,” Scalise said. “Speaker Pelosi and President Biden’s radical Green New Deal agenda will be a major issue in November’s elections.”
“One year of Democrat rule has destroyed American energy independence and driven up gas prices on every family,” House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik of New York said. “In my district, families are paying over a dollar more for a gallon of gas than last year.”
Polls show Republicans hold a historic lead over Democrats for the November 2022 midterm elections.
–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice