Biden says he will talk directly to oil companies soon about high gas prices
President Biden said Friday he will have a direct conservation with oil companies soon, following his warning to oil giants earlier this week that they may face a “higher tax” on excess profits.
“I’m working like hell to deal with the energy prices,” Biden said in San Diego, Calif. “I’m going to have a little — as they say — come to the lord talk with the oil companies pretty soon.”
“What are the bills people have to pay every month, a lot of people? Well, guess what, every month a lot of people have prescription bills they have to pay on a regular basis, every month they have health care premiums, energy costs, cost of heating their homes,” Biden said on Friday. “And how much of that is critical to working- and middle-class families? What can you do about it?”
While analysts say the global oil market, not individual companies, set large portions of the price, Biden has ramped up his focus on record profits by oil companies ahead of Election Day, seeking to go on offense over an issue that polls have shown is a major topic for voters this fall.
Biden administration officials have met with oil executives amid their push to lower gas prices this year. When pressed on why Biden himself doesn’t talk to companies directly, the White House has said he’s made his point clear.
“The Department of Energy has been in regular contact and have held meetings with these … different companies, and they’ll continue to have those conversations. Members of our team at the White House have also been in close contact,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said last week. “When the president uses his bully pulpit, that matters. That does send a very powerful message — a direct message — and to this case, to the oil companies.”
Biden on Friday spoke in San Diego at Viasat, a communications company that focuses on hiring veterans as they transition to civilian life.
At the event, he touted the passage of the PACT Act, which will expand benefits for veterans who were exposed to toxins, and the CHIPS and Science Act, which boosts computer chip manufacturing in the U.S.
He also rallied support for California Democratic Reps. Scott Peters and Mike Levin in the final stretch before the midterm elections.
He said Peters is “especially helping reduce the cost of drugs, as well as taking care of vets. Scott, your district is lucky to have you. … This guy’s the real deal, he’s the real deal.”
The president rallied for Levin at a reception on Thursday evening.
On Friday, Biden said, “Mike’s a hell of a guy, a champion for his constituents, especially veterans who live here.”