Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., said the best way to stand up to Russian President Vladimir Putin is to reinvigorate American energy production, which has dropped dramatically under the Biden administration. 

“If you want to send a message to Vladimr Putin, here’s a message to send him: We are going to be the ones who supply the oil and gas to the world. We are going to shut down your energy sector and we are going to open ours up like you’ve never seen it before,” Hawley said during remarks Thursday at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida. 

Hawley announced that he would introduce a Senate bill Monday to “open back up” energy production in the United States. 

Hawley’s comments followed Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine early Thursday, prompting the U.S. government and allies to impose new economic sanctions on the Kremlin. 

Putin’s strongest leverage on the world economic stage has been Russia’s vast oil production, which makes it  the chief supplier of oil and gas to most of Europe and a significant petroleum supplier to the United States. 

Hawley noted that shortly after taking office in January 2021, President Joe Biden blocked construction of the Keystone XL pipeline transporting oil from Canada into the United States, but initially approved Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline transporting natural gas to Germany. 

“Now you look at what is happening in Ukraine. You talk about weakness on the part of Joe Biden, he comes to office and what does he do?” Hawley told the CPAC crowd, adding:

He shuts down American energy production and greenlights Russian energy production. He greenlights Putin’s pipeline and he shuts down American pipelines. … Is it any wonder that Vladimir Putin feels emboldened to do whatever the heck it is he wants to do?

In the run-up to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a former Soviet republic, the Biden administration reversed its position on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. 

“I am not willing to wait around and see what Joe Biden does. On Monday, the United States Senate comes back into session,” Hawley said, adding: 

On Monday, I will introduce legislation to open back up American energy production in this country 100%. Put people back to work. Get the oil flowing. Get the natural gas pumping. Get the biofuels going. All of it. We are the No. 1 energy-producing country in the world, or we should be. Joe Biden gave that away. It’s time to take it back.

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