Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, on Sunday condemned the Biden administration’s “shutdown of American energy independence” that has left the United States vulnerable.
In an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” Ernst said administration decisions have made the nation reliant on oil from other countries including Russia.
“What we have seen in this administration is the shutdown of American energy independence, and last year alone we were importing Russian oil, 672,000 barrels a day,” she said.
“We have become much more reliant upon Russia and President [Vladimir] Putin instead of providing jobs and energy security right here on the homeland,” she continued.
“So I recognize that we are in a difficult position, but his choices, the administration's choices when he first came into office put us in this tenuous position with energy independence in the United States,” she said. “Instead of being an exporter of energy, we became a consumer of Russian oil. This needs to stop.”
“I would much rather wrap up American energy production here in the United States than provide dollars to Russia and to President Putin to fund the war machine that is killing innocent civilians in Ukraine.,” she declared.
Ernst said there is no political conflict in America’s desire to help Ukraine fight against Russia’s bloody invasion.
“This is where you see Republicans and Democrats coming together to aid Ukraine, and of course to provide stability for Europe,” she said. “This is an important time in our history, and we absolutely must do what we can to protect Ukrainians.”
Despite that support, Ernst said she opposed a no-fly zone request from Ukraine.
“I am thankful that [Ukraine] President [Volodymyr] Zelenskyy is stepping up and making all kinds of requests,” she said.
“However, we do not want to engage directly with Russians and … it would be World War III, and I don't think that's in the best interest of NATO, our partners and allies and friends.”
“But what we can do is provide all the defensive mechanisms for President Zelenskyy and his armed services to provide their own protected airspace, and that starts of course with providing air platforms to President Zelenskyy, making sure that those pilots are able to protect their own airspace,” she added.
Ernst also decried Putin ignoring previous agreements involving Ukraine.
“President Putin has just taken these agreements and they are basically no more than pieces of paper to him,” she said. “We do need to abide by these agreements, but in the meantime, we need to make sure that we are reinforcing Ukraine and providing as much lethal aid as possible. … also humanitarian aid.”
She suggested a division in the GOP between Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., over a plan for Republicans winning back a majority in Congress, but remains neutral.
“I think every Republican, as we step forward, will determine what is in the best interest for their own party dynamics within their states and defending what we believe to be true, liberty, freedom, you name it, that's what we are for,” she said,
“We want to see prosperity in the United States and each of us have a very important role and voice no matter where we are.”
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