McConnell calls White House blaming Putin for record gas prices 'laugh-out-loud revisionist history'
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"Democrats' reckless spending that's fueled across-the-board inflation have made Americans’ pain at the pump even worse. But in the last few days, the Biden administration has tried to invent some laugh-out-loud – laugh-out-loud revisionist history," McConnell, R-Ky., said on the Senate floor.
"They're trying to rebrand the entire increase in gas prices on their watch – listen to this – as an effect of Putin’s recent invasion of Ukraine. So, they want to blame 14 months of gas price increases on the last two weeks of turmoil. Washington Democrats' war on domestic energy long predates Putin’s war on Ukraine."
The U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday that the consumer price index, which analyzes the costs of goods and services across the economy, showed prices soar 7.9% year-over-year in February, the highest in the last four decades.
"I strongly support America stopping our purchase of Putin’s war. But Democrats' own war on our production will make that even more painful for American families than it had to be," McConnell said Thursday. "If the Biden administration spent 14 months not attacking inflation … we'd be better able to push back on Putin with less painful cost to American families."
In response, the Biden administration has been floating the phrase "Putin’s price hike."
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speaks to reporters after a Republican strategy meeting at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, March 8, 2022. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
"Today’s inflation report is a reminder that Americans’ budgets are being stretched by price increases, and families are starting to feel the impacts of Putin’s price hike," Biden said Thursday in a written statement released by the White House. "A large contributor to inflation this month was an increase in gas and energy prices as markets reacted to Putin’s aggressive actions.
"As I have said from the start, there will be costs at home as we impose crippling sanctions in response to Putin’s unprovoked war, but Americans can know this: The costs we are imposing on Putin and his cronies are far more devastating than the costs we are facing," he added.
Earlier this week, a reporter asked President Biden what he was going to do about soaring gas prices. Biden responded that he "can’t do much," adding "Russia’s responsible."
President Biden speaks before signing the American Rescue Plan, a coronavirus relief package, in the Oval Office of the White House, March 11, 2021, in Washington. (Associated Press)
"Washington Democrats are trying to pull off a political spin," McConnell said. "Everyone knows that gas prices and energy costs have been soaring sharply for many, many months. Working families know all too well that gas prices and utility costs have been rising throughout President Biden’s tenure."
"It keeps getting worse, not better," he said. "This has been a painful pattern throughout President Biden’s tenure. We’ve now had nine straight months of inflation higher than 5%."
Three weeks ago, before the crisis in Europe, Democrats "were already in a political panic over gas prices and desperately talking about a gas tax holiday," and the average price of a gallon of gas had already shot up more than a dollar from when President Biden was sworn in, McConnell said.
"You'd think the Democrats would have been proud of this. Hostility to fossil fuels and homegrown energy is precisely what President Biden campaigned on," McConnell said.
"Here's what our president said on the campaign trail in 2020, a direct quote: ‘No more subsidies for the fossil fuel industry. No more drilling on federal lands. No more drilling, including offshore. No ability for the oil industry to continue to drill, period. It ends.'
"That was the president in 2020. Here's what he told an activist: ‘Look at my eyes. I guarantee you we're going to end, end, fossil fuel.’ Now, President Biden spent two years campaigning on hostility to American energy. Now he's spent 14 months putting that hostility right into action."