Zelensky: Russian will not stop at Ukraine
US President Joe Biden is facing bipartisan criticism over the potential for new oil deals with Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and Iran to offset the loss of Russian oil.
Asked if it were a good idea to import oil from Venezuela, Sen. Joe Manchin told CNN: “Not for us. Now other countries might be able to, we don’t have to. We can do ours. We can work with our neighbors, we can work with, with Canada and Mexico. A lot of other countries don’t have that opportunity.”
Manchin added: “Venezuela is a rough, tough actor, okay. And so is Iran. Saudis can pick up some slack, this and that and everything but we can do what we got to do.”
Sen. Mark Kelly, who is up for re-election, said of Biden’s indecision on Russian oil imports: “Well, I’m decided on this. I don’t think we should be buying Russian oil and gas.” Asked about getting oil from Venezuela potentially, Kelly said: “There are also opportunities here in the United States to increase production of gas.”
And Sen. Rick Scott, who is the head of the Senate GOP campaign committee, said: “We should stop importing Russian oil period. And we shouldn’t be going to Venezuela. … When are we going to learn that we can’t be relying on these thugs?”
The top three House Republicans also slammed Biden over the potential move and called on the President to instead ramp up domestic oil production — something the GOP has long been pushing for.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said it’s “wrong” for Biden to seek oil from those other countries and argued it’s better for US jobs and national security for Biden to open up American oil and gas. “Why would he continue to fund these people who fund terrorists?” McCarthy said to CNN.
House GOP conference chair Elise Stefanik called it “outrageous” that Biden is looking to “dictators around the world” for energy. And House Minority Whip Steve Scalise told reporters “it’s time for President Biden to start looking right here in America for our energy.”
“Don’t replace Russian oil with Iranian oil. Replace it with American oil,” Scalise said. “For some reason, President Biden doesn’t want to look right here underneath his feet.”
Rank-and-file Republicans had equally harsh words for Biden: Rep. Chris Stewart of Utah, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, called it “kind of nuts” and warned it would “empower Venezuela” and “enrich Iran.” And Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida said he was “speechless” and hoped the reports weren’t true.
“I don’t think anybody could be this much of an imbecile. And I say that painfully because it’s too reckless, too stupid, too idiotic, too dangerous for it to be true,” Diaz-Balart said. “This will do nothing, by the way. Venezuelan oil? They’re barely producing right now.”
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