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Rep. Mace on sanctions: Americans don’t want ‘Russian gas in their cars’

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Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) sits down with Yahoo Finance Live to discuss the abundance of Russian oil in the U.S. consumer market, potential sanctions on Russian gas, and President Biden's State of the Union remarks on inflation and police funding.

Video Transcript

KARINA MITCHELL: We are going to switch gears now. President Biden addressed the American public in his first State of the Union speech last night. He began with a scathing attack of Vladimir Putin before turning to a range of domestic issues. Here with reaction is Republican Representative Nancy Mace from South Carolina.

Representative, thank you so much for your time today. I'm sure it was a late night for you yesterday. So let's start with Ukraine. We learned that the US will close its skies to Russia last night. But Ukraine is begging for its skies to be defended.

President Biden reiterated the IEA will release 60 million barrels of oil from its reserves, from its stockpiles. But that accounts for just six days of Russian output of oil. He talked about made in America, but he never mentioned once making more energy in this country.

Crude oil hit today $109 a barrel. It was $110 overnight. Your reaction, please, to his messaging and on his sanctions so far.

NANCY MACE: Well, certainly, it was a good start. But if you take the state of New York, for example, there's enough natural gas there to give to our European allies for the next 150 years. The United States has an abundance of natural resources. And until we can all get on electric cars, know that when you are filling your car with gas, there is Russian oil in there.

And I don't think any American today wants to have a single gallon of Russian gas in their cars. We import about 600,000 barrels a day. And those barrels are stained with Ukrainian blood. We did hear today from the White House that they're looking at the economic impact of oil and gas sanctions.

This is how Putin funds his wars. He makes money off of oil and gas and uses it to buy missiles, to tanks, and to invade countries like Ukraine. And we've got to put a stop to this. I don't want to be part of funding his cartel in Ukraine or the genocide, and murders, and human rights atrocities that are happening in real time.

We're all watching this unfold on social media literally in real time. And I think that's one of the reasons the United States and our European allies have reacted and responded so swiftly. But there's more to do, I believe. And our neighbors to the north in Canada, they decided to put a moratorium on the oil and gas imports from Russia.

I would love for us to do the same. But there will be consequences to that. We need to have OPEC increase its production. We also need to look at the natural resources we have here and how quickly we can stand up some of those to provide for ourselves and our allies around the world.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: Congresswoman, President Biden spent about 11 or 12 minutes discussing the situation in Ukraine and then went on to domestic issues. In many ways, it felt sort of like two speeches in one. And he made a lot of promises with regards to high inflation. He says it's his top priority. Do you feel like he laid out an actionable plan on how to rein inflation and those higher costs for Americans in?

NANCY MACE: I was actually confused by the plan. And one of the things he talked about was reducing costs by having government control pricing, for example. We know that that isn't going to have the intended effect. And of course, it takes dollars for R&D and innovation out of the market when that does happen.

You know, it was very kind of confusing because part of inflation cause is not only the Federal Reserve printing money, but also taxes contribute to inflation, spending contributes to inflation. But he's asking American companies to reduce the cost of everything, double the wages and salaries of their employees, and oh, by the way, we're also going to tax you on top of it.

And so I think the message was gray and confusing from that perspective. Some of the issues he brought up, I believe, are going to exacerbate the issues that we have with inflation. I know back home where I am in South Carolina, the cost of shelter over the last year alone is up 25% to rent or buy a home.

Gas prices in our neck of the woods are also up 50%. When I go to the grocery stores with my kids on the weekends, there are empty shelves. And so, you know, this is problematic. But one of the major ways we can do that is by reining in the federal government's spending.

And meanwhile, in the middle of COVID-19, the federal government had record revenues. And when they told businesses to shut down, shut your doors, we continued to spend. The federal government didn't cut one dime. And that has helped exacerbate the situation. And wages, of course, are not keeping up with inflation.

Individuals and families on fixed incomes are hurting worse today than they were a year ago. And there's so much more that we need to be doing that was not discussed last night.

KARINA MITCHELL: Midterm primaries are underway now in Texas. Are you surprised there was no real discussion about voting rights? However, he did decide to say that he was in favor of funding the police, while Kamala Harris stood up and applauded that. She's been very vocal about defunding the police.

NANCY MACE: Yeah. I found it was very striking. That was one of the moments where he had a bipartisan standing ovation, because Republicans have been saying for years we need to ensure that we fund the police, not defund the police. And that message of defunding the police will derail Democrats even more in the midterm election cycle.

But that's one of the places where we can agree, one of the few places where we can agree. That was one moment last night where all of us were in agreement on that discussion. We want everyone, regardless of your zip code, the color of your skin-- everyone wants to be treated equally and be protected and safe when they're home and ensure their children are safe in their communities, regardless of zip code, or color of skin, or gender. So that was a great moment last night for all of us to come together in the same chamber, both parties, both chambers supporting an effort together.

KARINA MITCHELL: All right, thank you so much. We'll have to leave it there. Lots more questions, but we're out of time. Representative Nancy Mace from South Carolina, thank you so much.