EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Lawmakers from border states are sticking by partisan lines hours ahead of President Joe Biden’s first State of the Union address.
Republicans from California and Texas say the country has fallen into a crisis with record illegal migration, fentanyl deaths, rising gas prices and inflation, and now a war in Eastern Ukraine triggered in part by a perception of weakness in the White House.
But at least one Texas Democrat is standing by Biden, whom she credits with quickly rebuilding political alliances in Europe in time of crisis – alliances weakened by neglect from the previous Republican administration.
“I’m grateful to President Biden for rebuilding alliances that had been so deeply frayed,” U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, said in a Monday teleconference. She recalled going to Germany with House Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, three years ago and hearing allies question U.S. commitments.
“What I heard from our allies three years ago is, ‘we don’t know if we can count on the United States. …’ Here we are three years later and it was this president who rallied our allies, who rebuilt key and meaningful transatlantic alliances,” she said.
But U.S. Rep. Mike McCaul, R-Texas, ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the administration’s hasty retreat from Afghanistan likely encouraged Russian President Vladimir Putin to invade Ukraine.
“Putin sees weakness. (China’s) President Xi sees weakness. The Ayatola sees weakness. Kim Jung Un sees weakness. We have a weak president and he’s creating a very dangerous world,” McCaul said on Monday. “The disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan was the beginning of the end. Putin saw that and he saw a weak and ineffective president.”
He also questioned why Biden was quick to place obstacles to traditional American energy production when he took office while continuing to allow oil purchases from Russia.
“Explain to me, Mr. President, how that is in our best national security interests; to allow Putin to complete his (oil) pipeline into Europe while he cancels the Keystone pipeline,” McCaul said.
Escobar said if higher gas prices are coming to America, it’ll be the result of sanctions imposed on Russia.
“We will feel them here at home in higher prices especially at the pump – which reaffirms for me (the need) to move away from fossil fuels, something we should’ve done (a couple) of decades ago,” she said. “Congress is going to try to reduce costs … make sure we do everything possible to ease the pain, but I also want us to take a step back and remember how our parents, the greatest generation, responded in time of global crisis …”
U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-California, said he hopes Biden rectifies an energy policy that’s hurting Americans and fueling inflation.
“Whatever the president says tonight or doesn’t say, we cannot ignore the problems this administration has ignited. From the borders, which simply through his executive orders, has become wide open. Fentanyl moving across our country … enough to kill every single American seven times over,” McCarthy said.
Hours later, U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-Texas, said Biden addressed some of the crises Americans are facing, but “he’s two years too late.”
“America is facing some of our toughest challenges yet – historic numbers at the border, skyrocketing inflation, rising crime, and more,” he said. “While America was hurting, Republicans were discussing solutions like investing in domestic manufacturing, prioritizing job creation, and getting our kids back to school. His speech confirmed what Texans already knew – America cannot rely on the Administration for results.”