On FOX Business, Portman Discusses Administration’s Energy Policy, Inflation, and Possibility of Recession

May 18, 2022 | Portman Difference

Senator Portman joined FOX Business this afternoon to discuss record high gas prices, inflation, and the importance of supporting and expanding energy production in North America, as opposed to turning to countries like Venezuela to help address high energy costs. Portman also noted the possibility of a recession as we may have another quarter of economic growth that is negative.

A transcript of the interview can be found below and you can also watch the interview here.

“You couldn’t make it up David. I mean, here we have an administration that has had a war against fossil fuels. And, particularly stifling the production of oil and gas production in the United States, and yet they seem to be interested in increasing production from countries that are, in the case of Venezuela, very aligned with Russia right now. At a time when we're trying to put sanctions on Russia, and here we have Maduro, one ever Russia's great allies. And as you said, it is going to be dirtier. By the way, the Russian oil was also dirtier. It never made sense for to us stop U.S. production and then bring in Russian oil which is produced in a way that is dirtier, but also has to come, you know, by ship to the United States which creates more CO2. So, it doesn't make sense. What we should do is we should produce our own natural resources in this country in the responsible way that we can and should be relying on countries like Canada. People forget about the Keystone XL Pipeline which was more oil by the way than coming in from Russia. That was canceled by this administration after billions of dollars in investments, which again, has a stifling effect on investment in oil and gas when you have made those kinds of commitments and the rug is pulled out from under you.” 

“Well, the Maduro regime continues to violate peoples’ human rights, and this money would directly to support their efforts, including by the way with Cuban and Russian security support in Venezuela. It’s the reason, David, recall, that five or six million Venezuelans have voted with their feet and left the country. By the way some of whom are coming to the United States. We see bigger and bigger numbers at the southern border from both Venezuela and Cuba right now. Cubans coming in from Nicaragua. Venezuelans coming up from Colombia and through Central America. So, why would we be rewarding them? Maybe there is something that we aren't being told about in terms of negotiations with the Maduro regime. But, everything we see indicates that not only do they continue to have human rights violations and repress people, but their economy is in shambles because of the way in which the government is running the country which is causing all this hardship and I don't get it either.”

“’SPR’ is to be used sparingly in emergency situations like now where we have the highest gas prices at pump we ever had -- over $4.50. I filled up over the weekend, and you know once again you see that getting to $100. You're like, ‘Oh, my gosh how can anybody afford this on fixed income?’ If you’re a senior, if you’re a young person, if you’re someone who commutes to work, my gosh, I don't know how people can afford it on top of higher prices for utilities, and food, and clothing, and everything else. That is what it is supposed to, and it’s supposed to be temporary, you know to alleviate these kinds of emergencies. And then you refill it again, and then this time they’re going to have to refill it with very expensive gasoline.”

“Absolutely. This is by far the top issue that I hear back home. When you pump gas at the pump you hear from people.  But it’s inflation on everything, not just gasoline but on everything. People are looking at utility bills, and thinking oh my gosh, what can I do? So it’s by far the top issue. You saw big turnouts yesterday as we did in Ohio in our primary which was a week ago. We're seeing people interested, particularly on our side of the aisle. We had much bigger turnout on the Republican side than on the Democratic side, as an example in Ohio. People are concerned. They're expressing themselves. I will say with regard to gas prices when the president and the administration blame Ukraine we have to realize that the vast majority of these hikes in gasoline, by the way 92 percent increase of price of gas at the pump since the Biden administration took office, the vast majority happened before there was any invasion of Ukraine, is part of this inflationary spiral that started with so much domestic spending stimulating the economy as democratic, former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers warned and many of us warned at the time on top of the supply issues which were somewhat COVID-related and internationally related but the supply issue was also about energy. So If you do more to encourage energy production in this country you’ll help on the supply side. That's the issue and I think voters get it.”

“Well we had negative growth in the last quarter as you know. And if we have another quarter of negative growth that technically is a recession. I don't know; no one does. But I would say when you look at the numbers right now, you look what the Fed is doing, raising interest rates they have to do to try to calm inflation, the effect that will have on consumer spending. And,  you mentioned stocks being down today consumer oriented, more likely than not we'll have another quarter of economic growth that is negative.”