GOP lawmaker fact-checked by CNN's Dana Bash after blaming Biden for oil companies not drilling

GOP lawmaker fact-checked by CNN's Dana Bash after blaming Biden for oil companies not drilling
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During an appearance on CNN's "State of the Union'," Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) was fact-checked by host Dana Bash when he tried to blame rising gas prices on President Joe Biden's opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline project.

Speaking from Poland where he is surveying the refugee crisis related to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Portman repeated talking points about Biden's culpability which drew a rebuke from the CNN host.

"When the president was elected, he said we're going to cut off Keystone which is North American energy which is what we're talking about," Portman offered. That was over 800,000 barrels per day, more than the Russian oil which was 600,000 barrels a day. Second, he issued an executive order stopping exploration on public lands and water. Finally, he's rewriting this legislation that is now a regulation that has to do with permitting called Waters of the United States. All of this is leading to less North American energy production; specific policy decisions have been made."

"Senator, a couple things," Bash interjected. "On Keystone, I have not seen any report that it would have even been done in time to affect the crisis that's happening now -- it wouldn't have been done until at least next year. On the public lands you're talking about, that might be true, that he stopped production on public lands, but the administration has given more permits for drilling on private lands."

"In fact, I have a comment from [Energy] Secretary [Jennifer] Granholm saying take advantage of the leases you have, hire workers, get your rig up. Isn't it true that this is really just because of the pandemic and all of the economic woes and the implications from the pandemic that we're seeing now and then, of course, exacerbated by Russia?" she asked.

"First of all, oil prices started to go up long before any invasion of Ukraine, as you know," the GOP senator replied. "Oil prices went up for a lot of reasons. One is the fact that this administration made it a priority of theirs to stifle domestic production of fossil fuels -- there's no secret to that. The president campaigned on it, he had a right to do it. I disagree with him, that's a fact. That affected the price of oil, long before the Ukrainian issue became a factor."

"Second, you talk about these leases," he continued. "If oil companies could know that they could make billions in investments which is what some of these are, like the Keystone XL pipeline and have it end up with oil and gas being able to be available on the market, they would certainly do that."

Watch below:

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