- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman has a solution for the nation’s rising inflation: “Make more s—- in America.”

Mr. Fetterman, a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, shared his vision while pumping gas this week in the Pittsburgh suburbs, saying President Biden was right to release more oil from the nation’s strategic reserve and saying “we should continue to do so to drive down prices at the pump.”

He said bringing more manufacturing back to the U.S. would also beat back inflation.

“If we made more stuff here in America, not only would we create more American jobs, but prices wouldn’t spike every time there’s a problem overseas,” Mr. Fetterman said in a video message. “It should be common sense that we can lower prices if we make more s—- in America and here in Pennsylvania.”

President Biden and the Democratic-run Congress have struggled to deal with increasing prices for gasoline and overall high levels of inflation. It has opened them up to criticism from Republicans, who say the administration’s policies have made the problems worse.

“BREAKING NEWS: HIGHEST GAS PRICES IN HISTORY! DO YOU MISS ME YET?” former President Donald Trump said Tuesday in a statement.

The situation was flipped on its head in 2018 when then-Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer of New York and fellow Democrats criticized Mr. Trump for soaring gas prices. They said Mr. Trump was pushing a “reckless” agenda — including his decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal — that caused a swing in world crude oil prices. 

Four years later, the Biden administration is trying to ease the problem, announcing plans this month to release 30 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as part of an effort to lower prices. The administration released 50 million barrels in November. 

Candidates in this year’s elections, meanwhile, are scrambling to come up with their own fixes and develop a message to ease the concerns of their constituents.

Sens. Mark Kelly of Arizona, Raphael Warnock of Georgia, Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada and Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, four of the most vulnerable Democrats up for re-election, announced last month they were backing legislation that would temporarily freeze the 18 cents per gallon federal gas tax through Jan. 1, 2023.

“Hardworking Georgians being squeezed at the pump understand that every penny counts, and the Gas Prices Relief Actis my latest effort to help working and middle-class families overcome the economic pressures of the pandemic and come out on top,” Mr. Warncok said at the time.

Others appear to be intent on steering clear of the subject.

But that could become an even harder position to hold now that the Biden administration has announced a ban on Russian oil in response to the invasion of Ukraine.

The move is likely to result in more pain at the pump, though polls show a vast majority of Americans support the ban.

Still, Republicans maintain the White House and Democrats have pursued a policy agenda that has hurt the nation’s energy independence and fed into the record-breaking gas prices.

While Mr. Biden has backed the push to curb the nation’s dependence on fossil fuels, Democrats say the reasons behind the eye-popping gas prices are far more complicated than the GOP lets on. They cited the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the lingering effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Republicans aren’t buying it.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Democrats are going to try to blame the “historic gas prices on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.” 

“But the facts show otherwise: On Day 1, Biden halted the Keystone Pipeline and issued a moratorium on new oil and gas permits on federal lands,” Mr. McCarthy, California Republicans said. “Then he gave the green light on a pipeline for Putin.”

• Seth McLaughlin can be reached at smclaughlin@washingtontimes.com.

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