White House spokesman John Kirby said Wednesday that the United States needs to be less reliant on foreign oil, even as the Biden administration has taken action to reign in domestic oil production and freeze gas leases.
"We need to be less dependent on OPEC+ and foreign producers of resources like oil," Kirby told Fox News after the oil cartel OPEC+ announced it would cut oil production against the White House's wishes, a move that will cause oil and gas prices to climb worldwide.
Kirby pointed to the Biden administration's sales of drilling rights as proof of President Joe Biden's commitment to energy independence, and he accused domestic oil producers of not "taking advantage" of those opportunities to drill. But Kirby did not mention the action Biden has taken to cut down on oil production and his rhetoric suggesting U.S. oil drilling should be phased out.
In the first month of his administration, Biden issued an executive order pausing oil and gas leasing on federal lands, making good on his campaign commitment to reduce oil production. As a candidate in 2020, Biden said there would be "no ability for the oil industry to continue to drill, period. Ends."
The Inflation Reduction Act, though, which passed in August, mandated the government lease oil sites in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska.
Instead of boosting domestic oil production to lower prices, the Biden administration has taken the strategy of pressuring foreign producers, particularly OPEC+, to increase their production.
The Biden administration is reportedly in panic mode as gas prices have surged in the past week and has threatened to take unprecedented executive action to limit oil exports unless oil executives bring prices down. High prices at the pump just a month before the midterm elections pose a major threat to Democrats' control of Congress, as voters list inflation high among their top concerns.