On Wednesday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) offered some unusual perspectives on how to address civil unrest in Ukraine. Boehner believes that increasing US natural gas exports will weaken the influence of Russia, while Ryan suggests the crisis could be solved by natural gas exports and approving the Keystone XL pipeline.
All in all, several Republican lawmakers managed to use the crisis in Ukraine to blast the Obama administration’s policies and promote the expansion of the oil sands and natural gas industries this week.
Boehner criticized President Obama’s Department of Energy, saying, “We can supplant Russia’s influence, but we won’t so long as we have to contend with the Energy Department’s ‘achingly slow’ approval process.”
Ryan instead targeted the Obama administration’s foreign and defense policies and blamed Russia’s actions on the United States’ “weakness.” On CNN Ryan stated, “My argument is that… we have projected weakness in our foreign policy, and now in our defense policy with our military budget the president’s proposing.”
“I think when you have the world’s super power, having a foreign policy that, in my opinion, is weak, and a defense policy now that shows weakness, I think it invites aggression,” Ryan continued, insinuating that a complex relationship between two countries and the actions of those countries’ leaders and people can be explained by the United States’ “weak” defense policies.
Ryan further suggests that the United States “move forward on natural gas exports very quickly,” and “approve the Keystone pipeline,” which he believes would be a “signal” to Russia that the US is moving in a direction to “give our allies the kind of resources they need.”
Sens. John Barrasso (R-WY) and James Inhofe (R-OK) joined Ryan this week in blaming the president for failing to “maintain leadership in the world,” The Hill reports. Barrasso suggested that if the president “is serious about helping the people of Ukraine, he will immediately expedite the approval process for liquefied natural gas exports.”
Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) announced that he is proposing legislation to require the Department of Energy to authorize natural gas exports to the European Union, and former Soviet states, including Ukraine. “The demand is there and the American supply is overwhelming,” Poe said. “The only thing standing in the way are the bureaucrats in the Department of Energy.”