Republicans criticize Biden ‘begging’ Saudi Arabia to produce more oil in time for the midterms

Republicans are piling on their criticism of Joe Biden after Saudi Arabia released  a damning statement confirming the administration’s failed bid to get them to delay cutting oil production by two million barrels a day until after the midterms.

The White House, bracing for another spike in gas prices less than a month before millions head to the polls, has furiously hit back at the Kingdom and accused them of siding Russia instead of the financial implications of the deal.

The Saudi Foreign Ministry statement didn’t specifically mention the November 8 elections, where Biden will try onto the razor-thin Democratic majority in Congress, but stated the U.S. ‘suggested’ the cuts be delayed by a month. 

The West Wing dropped the gloves in the spat and said they would ‘re-evaluate’ diplomatic relations while the Democrats threatened to suspend all arms deals to the long-time ally.

But the GOP have said the humiliation for the Biden administration is more evidence that it is more concerned with ‘political clout’ than lowering cost for Americans, and that he should tap into domestic energy resources rather than rely on foreign powers.

Republicans have also called for Nancy Pelosi to launch hearings to find out who in the Biden administration contacted Saudi Arabia to request the delay, and to potentially ‘influence the outcome of an election’. 

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy told DailyMail.com: ‘President Biden’s anti-energy agenda is the sole obstacle preventing a resurgence of American energy production and more affordable energy. 

Republicans are piling on their criticism of Joe Biden after Saudi Arabia released a damning statement laying out the administration’s failed bid to get them to delay cutting oil production by two million barrels a day until after the midterms

The White House, bracing for another spike in gas prices, has furiously hit back at the Kingdom by claiming the request to push back the decision was based on economics and accused them of siding Russia. Biden is pictured meeting Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman in Jeddah in July

‘Biden and Democrats’ radical policies have crippled domestic production and caused a spike in energy prices. 

‘While President Biden continues to beg for energy abroad, the solution can be found here at home. 

‘House Republicans are committed to restoring American energy independence by maximizing the production of reliable, cleaner, American-made energy.’

New Mexico Republican Rep. Yvette Herrell told DailyMail.com: ‘In addition to sabotaging domestic energy production and presiding over record inflation and gas prices, we now know that President Biden begged Saudi Arabia to churn out just enough oil to get his failing party past the midterm elections. 

‘This is yet another instance of the Biden administration trading favors for power while throwing American families under the bus—I look forward to investigating this matter with my colleagues on the House Oversight Committee.’

Rep. August Pfluger (TX-11) added: ‘This is politics at its worst. Democrats are prioritizing their electoral outlook over the pocketbooks of American families and attempting to use OPEC+ as a scapegoat for their failing policies. 

‘This Administration needs to end its Green New Deal crusade and champion American oil and gas. Mr. President, the Calvary isn’t coming—it’s time to return to American energy dominance.’ 

Republican Rep. Bruce Westerman, who is on the House Committee on National Resources said: ‘This news goes to show what we’ve known all along: that Democrats and the Biden administration are far more concerned with political clout than they are with implementing policies to lower costs for the American people. 

‘Groveling to OPEC is not the solution; reopening domestic energy leasing is.

Republican Rep. Tom Tiffany on Thursday demanded the release of transcripts of any calls between President Joe Biden or Vice President Kamala Harris and Saudi officials.

And he said hearings were needed to get to the bottom of what happened.

Gas prices have not risen dramatically since the OPEC cut was announced. But there are fears it will gradually increase in the coming weeks 

‘The allegations from the Saudi foreign ministry are serious, and if the Biden administration did attempt to pressure a foreign government to influence the outcome of the U.S. election, that’ something Americans deserve to know,’ said Tiffany in a tweet. 

Tiffany also wrote to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi outlining her concerns and urging her to use her powers of oversight.

‘This is a very serious allegation,’ he wrote. ‘One that, if true, may very well constitute an illegal solicitation of a foreign in-kind by the White House on behalf of Democrats’ midterm campaign efforts.’

Tiffany asked Pelosi and committee chairs to convene hearings, demand details of communications between American and Saudi officials, and identify who in the administration had asked for a delay.

Republican Senator Ted Cruz tweeted in reference to the bombshell Saudi statement: ‘Is there even a single US ally left that Joe Biden hasn’t tried to bully for his own political gain?’

Earlier the White House had hit back angrily at the claims, accusing the Saudis of trying to ‘spin or deflect.

John Kirby, the National Security Council’s coordinator for strategic communications, said the U.S. had been talking to the Saudis about ensuring that Russia remained isolated and was unable to benefit from oil prices.

‘We presented Saudi Arabia with analysis to show that there was no market basis to cut production targets, and that they could easily wait for the next OPEC meeting to see how things developed,’ he said.

The controversy erupted on Thursday morning with a statement issued by the Saudi Foreign Ministry defending its decision to cut production.

It said it had explained to Washington that delaying the Oct. 5 decision by a month ‘according to what has been suggested’ would have led to ‘negative economic consequences.’

The Kingdom also brushed off suggestions it sided with Russia by insisting it took a ‘principled position’ on the Ukraine war and said the OPEC decision was entirely based on economics, not politics.

Last week OPEC+ announced it would cut oil production by two million barrels per day, in a major blow to the Biden administration that for months had asked them to instead increase production. Production cuts are already jacking gas prices back up – $3.91 is the average cost per gallon as of Thursday, up eight cents from when the cut was announced last week.

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‘The country that benefits the most from this 2 million barrel cut is Russia,’ Kirby said in a call with reporters.

The cut ‘allows [Putin] to continue to fund his war making machine and it certainly gave him, Mr Putin, a sense of comfort here,’ Kirby continued.

On Wednesday State Department spokesman Ned Price refused to confirm reports the Biden administration had begged the Saudis to wait and spare them the political consequences in next month’s election.

‘I certainly can’t confirm that report. What I can confirm is that we conveyed a consistent message to the Saudis: energy supply needs to meet energy demand. We have made the point repeatedly that we have a multiplicity of interests with Saudi Arabia; energy is one of them,’ Price said.

‘And in the context of those discussions regarding energy, we have had senior members of the administration travel to Saudi Arabia in recent months. This was not—this engagement did not take place solely in the context of October 2022 or September 2022,’ he added.

But a Saudi statement released hours later implied that the U.S. did ask for at least a one-month delay.

‘The Government of the Kingdom clarified through its continuous consultation with the U.S. Administration that all economic analyses indicate that postponing the OPEC+ decision for a month, according to what has been suggested, would have had negative economic consequences,’ bin Farhan Al Saud said.

It was never likely that such a request would have been granted as experts believe that Saudi Crown-Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the cut at least in part to spite Biden and Democrats in the midterm elections.

Biden himself had a controversial meeting with the crown prince, beginning with a fist bump rather than a handshake, in July.

Rep. Michael McCaul, lead Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said that Biden should focus less on Saudi oil and more on production here at home.

‘High gas prices are a direct result of President Biden’s war on traditional U.S. energy production. Attempting to blame foreign countries every time gas prices rise is ridiculous. Voters won’t be fooled,’ he said in a statement.

The Texas Republican said the White House’s latest quarrel with the Saudis would ‘alienate Saudi Arabia and harm U.S. national security.’

The Saudi Foreign Ministry statement didn’t specifically mention the November 8 elections, where Biden will try onto the razor-thin Democratic majority in Congress, but stated the U.S. ‘suggested’ the cuts be delayed by a month

Victoria Coates, Donald Trump’s former special energy envoy to Saudi Arabia, told DailyMail.com that Biden’s ‘outsourcing’ of the energy secretary is a ‘national disgrace’.

Vandenberg Coalition Advisory Board member and Senior Fellow at the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom at the Heritage Foundation added that Biden has placed the American people ‘at the mercy of foreign wars, dictators and cartels’.

‘The proper response is not to cut off arms sales to Saudi Arabia, an ally of more than seventy years that is taking daily direct fire from Iranian proxies in Yemen.

‘It is to embrace our potential as a major energy producing nation that can responsibly protect our citizens against shocks in international energy markets.’

After OPEC+ announced the decision, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre called the move a ‘mistake’ and accused the Saudis of ‘aligning with Russia.’

The foreign minister said such an accusation is intended to ‘distort the facts’ and claimed Saudi Arabia has taken a ‘principled position’ with respect to the Russia-Ukraine war.

‘The Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia would first like to express its total rejection of these statements that are not based on facts, and which are based on portraying the OPEC+ decision out of its purely economic context,’ bin Farhan Al Saud said in a statement.

The foreign minister said that Saudi Arabia supports UN resolutions regarding the war and rejects ‘any infringement on the sovereignty of countries over their territories.’

‘The Kingdom stresses that while it strives to preserve the strength of its relations with all friendly countries, it affirms its rejection of any dictates, actions, or efforts to distort its noble objectives to protect the global economy from oil market volatility,’ bin Farhan Al Saud said.

But Kirby said Washington presented Riyadh with analysis showing there was ‘no market basis’ for production cuts and ‘they could easily wait till the next OPEC meeting and see how things developed.’

‘Other OPEC nations communicated to us privately that they felt coerced to support Saudi’s direction.’

Biden has insisted that his trip to Saudi Arabia in July wasn’t about oil. The White House have now promised to ‘re-evaluate’ their relationship with the Kingdom after their OPEC request was rejected 

In a press call Kirby said Saudi Arabia had been ‘twisting arms’ to get other nations to agree to the cut, and ‘more than one’ had privately expressed concerns about doing so.

Kirby said the U.S. would keep a close eye on the next OPEC meeting in December to see where the Saudis stand on Russian aggression.

The production cut incensed lawmakers, who questioned why the U.S. had been selling arms to the Middle Eastern nation and ignoring human rights abuses and its role in the war in Yemen if it wasn’t going to get oil out of the deal.

Biden claimed that Riyadh would face ‘consequences’ as aides announced the U.S. would be reevaluating its relationship with the Saudis.

‘There´s going to be some consequences for what they’ve done with Russia,’ Biden said in a CNN interview aired Tuesday evening.

‘I’m not going to get into what I’d consider and what I have in mind,’ he added. ‘But there will be – there will be consequences.’

But the Saudi statement showed no ill will to the U.S.

‘The Kingdom affirms that it views its relationship with the United States as a strategic one that serves the common interests of both countries. The Kingdom also stresses the importance of building on the solid pillars on which the Saudi-US relationship has stood over the past eight decades.’

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