Two days before the election, President Joe Biden revealed a division within the Democratic Party with his off-the-cuff promise to approve no more drilling.
A rally was over with the embattled Governor. Kathy Hochul (D–NY): Biden made apparently unintentional comments to a heckler at the end of a rally and created another midterm headache in his party.
He said, “No more drilling,” and waved his hand in a back-and forth motion. “There is no drilling.” “I haven’t done any drilling.”
These remarks follow a dispute between Biden and Sen. Joe Manchin (D.WV), where he claimed he would shut down all coal plants in the country. They also appear to contradict statements made by the president just days earlier.
Biden boasted at a New Mexico election rally on Thursday that his administration had not slowed any oil leases in the State and stated that energy companies “should drill more than they are doing now.” We would get more relief from the pump if they were drilling more.
Biden’s New York comments were interpreted by some Republicans as confirmation of a secret truth: Democrats want gas prices up to facilitate a transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.
Rep. Steve Scalise (R.LA) tweeted, “Biden just admitted to his anti-American oil and gas agenda.” “No one, not even his media allies & the fake fact-checkers, will be able to cover this for him now. He said it straight from his mouth.”
The House Oversight Republicans published a report the next morning detailing “Democrats’ War on American Energy”.
The president may find it more difficult to resolve the conflicts within his party. Manchin made a harsh statement following Biden’s pledge to close West Virginia’s coal plants. These plants are a key economic driver for West Virginia.
Manchin stated that President Biden’s comments were not only absurd and disconnected from reality but also ignore the economic pain that the American people feel due to rising energy prices. “Comments such as these are why the American people are losing faith in President Biden. Instead, they believe he doesn’t understand the necessity of an all-in policy for energy that would keep the nation completely energy independent and secure.
Across the border in Pennsylvania’s energy-rich Pennsylvania, anti-coal and pro-oil comments could prove problematic in the critical Senate race between Republican Mehmet Oz and Democrat John Fetterman. Fetterman has sometimes been vague about his support for fracking.
Biden’s recent remarks about ending new oil drilling could cause more headaches in the midterm. Gas prices have risen dramatically during Biden’s tenure. Some blame his anti-oil policies, which have contributed to this rise. When Biden was elected, the average cost of a gallon of gas was $2.31. According to AAA, it reached a peak of $5 per gallon in the summer and is currently at $3.80.
The president has been blamed by detractors for driving up gas prices. He has since tapped the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, as well as taken other steps to lower the cost of gasoline. Biden met with the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the summer. This caused controversy and the kingdom later announced that it would be cutting production.
Samuel Abrams, the senior fellow at American Enterprise Institute, suggested that Biden might be saved because the remarks were made so close to the conclusion of the midterm election when millions of early ballots had been cast and while making a low-profile Sunday evening appearance. It is still indicative of an intraparty dispute.
Abrams, a Sarah Lawrence College professor, stated that Democrats are not aligned on the issue. This has been a problem for the party for many years. Biden could have it as a sign that he is not able to remember the contractions. … It is not the first time that the White House has attempted to retract his remarks.
Karine Jean-Pierre, White House press secretary, responded to a question by the Washington Examiner at Monday’s press briefing. She repeated previous statements regarding approved drilling permits that have yet to be tapped by the industry.
Peter Van Doren, senior Cato Institute fellow, believes that the dispute could prove more symbolic than actual. This is due to subtleties about offshore vs onshore drilling, and the fact that drilling on private property is more important than drilling on public land.
However, the issue is still highly volatile politically, particularly as high gas prices continue to be a top concern for voters.
According to a Trafalgar Group poll, 54.4% of respondents believe that rising gas prices will increase their willingness to vote for Republican candidates in 2022’s midterm elections. This includes 55.5% of independents. A New York Times poll found that 64% of voters were more focused on the economy than Democrats. This is up from 30% in the previous poll.