- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 10, 2022

House Republicans’ campaign arm on Thursday released a new digital ad targeting 10 vulnerable Democrats on record-high gasoline prices around the country.

“Joe Biden’s war on American energy began the second he took power, and now American consumers are paying the price,” Rep. Tom Emmer of Minnesota, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, said in a statement. “The blame for record-high gas prices lies solely at the feet of Joe Biden and House Democrats.”

The NRCC ad targets Democratic Reps. Tom O’Halleran of Arizona, Sharice Davids of Kansas, Elissa Slotkin of Michigan, Angie Craig of Minnesota, Chris Pappas of New Hampshire, Susie Lee of Nevada, Elaine Luria of Virginia, Kim Shrier of Washington, Dan Kildee of Michigan and Sean Patrick Maloney of New York, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

The ad begins with a voice-over mentioning that the targeted lawmaker and President Biden “crippled American energy production.”

“Gas prices started to rise the moment the president got into office. Gas prices here in the US hit record-level,” news reporters are heard saying.

The ad ends with the voiceover declaring “Now you’re paying the price” and directing voters to tell the ad’s targeted Democrat that “We can’t afford this.”

U.S. fuel prices officially hit a record high this week, according to the automobile owners club AAA. The average price for a gallon of regular gasoline is $4.17, exceeding the previous record of $4.11 set in July 2008.

The GOP sees parallels in the current era of high inflation and gas prices to that of President Jimmy Carter during the late 1970s and blames Democrats’ “full-scale war on energy.”

The GOP lists “slow-rolling oil and gas permits, canceling the Keystone XL Pipeline, banning new oil and gas leases on federal lands, halting new federal support for oil and gas projects overseas, and suspending oil drilling leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).”

The House passed bipartisan legislation Wednesday night prohibiting U.S. imports of Russian oil and other energy sources.

Republicans have made a push for the president to reopen the Keystone XL Pipeline and ease up on domestic drilling regulations, but Mr. Biden, who signed an executive order banning Russian oil imports, blames Russia’s invasion of Ukraine for the higher prices at the pump.

“We’re engaging with big global oil producers around the world to meet that demand. But there are also, as we’ve talked about a few times in here, 9,000 unused oil leases that oil companies could certainly tap into, and we’ve encouraged them to do that. So that’s certainly a way to address,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.

Mike Sommers, chief executive officer of the American Petroleum Institute, the largest U.S. oil lobby, said the Biden administration is “misusing facts” when it says the industry has more than 9,000 federal drilling leases that it can drill on, Bloomberg News reported Monday.

“There’s a fundamental misunderstanding of the administration as to how the process actually works,” Mr. Sommers said.

“Just because you have a lease doesn’t mean there’s actually oil and gas in that lease, and there has to be a lot of development that occurs between the leasing and then ultimately permitting for that acreage to be productive,” he said. “I think that they’re purposefully misusing the facts here to advantage their position.”

• Kerry Picket can be reached at kpicket@washingtontimes.com.

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