At a press conference, Portman asks NATO countries to ban Russian oil and gas and the United States to meet their energy needs

March 23, 2022

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Portman difference

At a press conference earlier today, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) joined fellow Republicans to discuss actions taken by the Biden administration that have led to higher oil prices. gasoline and rising inflation across the country. While the administration blames Russia for rising gas prices, Portman pointed out that 68% of the rise in the cost of oil and gas occurred before the invasion and can be attributed to administration actions that have stifled national energy production.

Portman also spoke of the need for NATO countries to end their imports of Russian oil and gas to further cripple the Russian war machine. Currently, Russia’s war against Ukraine is mainly financed by energy revenues. While the United States has banned the import of Russian oil, gas and coal, this is not enough. Portman encouraged President Biden to talk to his NATO colleagues to convince them to embargo Russian energy as well. He pointed out that American producers can play a key role not only in supporting our national energy security, but also in supporting the transition of our allies abroad away from their dependence on Russian energy.

A transcript of his remarks can be found below and a video can be found here.

“John Kennedy has a joke, he says ‘I don’t like to brag about expensive places I go to, but I went to the gas station last week.’ There’s a lot of truth in that. I mean I filled up my van about three weeks ago now – I haven’t driven much since I don’t want to fill up anymore. And, it’s $94. For the guy or the woman who commutes, who is on a fixed income, or a middle income, low income families that I represent – ​​you know that’s a killer. They spend more in addition, and not just for gasoline, but also for utility bills. In Ohio, our utility bills have gone up about 40%. A lot of it is natural gas. So it’s about energy production in general and it affects our economy in a very significant way, as we see with inflation and people’s wages that can’t keep up with inflation. You know, for the few years leading up to the pandemic, we had pay raises every months – in fact 19 months of salary increases. But significantly, they were at three percent or more each month. I mean they were above inflation every month. Now it’s just the opposite. Inflation is there, wages are there. They increased a little, but not as much as inflation.

“I like these charts because they show two things. One, they show the truth is not that it’s because of the Ukrainian war. I mean, it was already going up, and it was on a This chart shows where we were in terms of gasoline prices and I know what you’re wondering, so I’m going to do the math for you because you’re wondering “what’s the overall percentage?”

“How much of that 48% increase in gas and 20% was before and after. So that would be 62% – so a 62% increase happened before the invasion, remembering that it was already increasing. It So would have gone up quite a bit since then. And that’s 38% after the invasion. Now, I’m not saying what Russia has helped in terms of energy prices. It certainly has an impact, certainly. Including our decision, which was the right decision for our country, and for the national security of our country, to cut off our Russian oil coming into this country and then the revenue going back to Russia to fund the war machine. But that’s what The facts tell. So it’s not accurate that the Biden administration is saying it’s about Vladimir Putin’s gas hike. It’s just not accurate. Does it help? Absolutely , that helps. But the majority of that was already happening and the trajectory was already increasing.

“There is another problem that I would like to mention because we are at war here in Ukraine with Russia. We try to help Ukraine as much as we can. We’re trying to make Vladimir Putin’s income from the rest of the world dry up because of the sanctions, aren’t we? So his war machine is unfunded and he can’t continue to kill innocent civilians like he does, every day, every night. Bombing of schools, hospitals and apartment buildings. Well, our biggest challenge as I see it right now is military assistance, which we’re starting to do more of. I wish we could do even more – I think we can. But second, there are the revenues in its economy. You have probably seen that they are going to reopen their exchange in Russia. You have probably seen the ruble stabilizing this week. Why? Because it derives a lot of revenue from its oil and gas sales in Europe, Asia, India, China. It is financing this war machine. So what is one of the answers? One of the answers is that I hope, number one, that the President of the United States will talk to his NATO colleagues tomorrow and demonstrate very clearly that they also have to embargo the oil and gas Russians. Because if they don’t, and if other countries in the world don’t, he’ll still have the money to send to those missiles to kill those innocent civilians, won’t he? It is his main source of income. It is their main export.

“So we can find all sorts of ways to get most-favoured-nation treatment, I support that. Ending the tax treaty, I am in favor of that. Put in place our own embargo on Russian oil. But if we don’t deal with this issue, it will be very, very difficult for the Ukrainian people to survive this conflict. One way to do this is to tell our NATO partners that if you move away from your dependence on Russian energy, we will be there. And our allies will be there. Countries in the Middle East, for example, such as Qatar, which have said that they are happy to send liquefied natural gas to Europe to help, to make up for some of this loss of energy that they receive from Russia if they make the right decision. We must do the same. LNG export terminals can be built very quickly. We can build more. Import terminals with the new technology, we can make them work quickly in Europe. There are already some. We need to flood the area. We must supply Europeans with more energy from this country.

“But we can’t do that if we have an administration that says on the one hand we want to beat Putin and on the other hand we want to stifle energy production in this country. Because our allies depend on Russian natural gas. They need it. We need to provide more production in this country to be able to provide them with the energy they need to be able to say no to Putin and yes to the freedom of the Ukrainian people. Say no to tyranny. And yes to the Ukrainian people so that they have a chance to survive. So it’s related to the pump – it’s true, and it’s painful for people. But it’s also connected to something even bigger. And this is so that we can be effective in stopping this cowardly and brutal invasion of Ukraine.

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