Watch: Sen. John Kennedy Torches Witness Over Biden Lifting Oil Sanctions from Dictatorship

Watch: Sen. John Kennedy Torches Witness Over Biden Lifting Oil Sanctions from Dictatorship

Louisiana GOP Sen. John Kennedy ripped a top Biden official during a hearing on Monday over the administration’s decision to roll back sanctions against Venezuela’s authoritarian regime.

In a video posted to his X account, Kennedy pressed Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo to explain the administration’s reason for lifting sanctions related to oil and gas operations in Venezuela.

The order lifting the sanctions, known as General License No. 44, was implemented in October, Reuters reported at the time. It lifted sanctions imposed in 2019 by then-President Donald Trump that restricted the import of oil from Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela.

It came in exchange for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduoro agreeing to ease bans on opposition parties in Venezuela, begin releasing political prisoners, and freeing “wrongfully detained” Americans, Reuters reported.

General License No. 44 is set to expire on April 18. In a Treasury Department news release in February, the Biden administration stated that it intends to renew the license “only if the representatives of Maduro follow through with their commitments and take continued concrete steps toward a democratic election by the end of 2024.”

At Monday’s hearing, Adeyomo said it was possible the sanctions would be reimposed when General License No. 44 expires, but that’s far from certain.

At Monday’s hearing, Kennedy said Maduro has failed to hold up his end of the bargain, and bashed the Biden administration for lifting the sanctions in the first place.

“Maduro said, ‘I promise you I will hold a free and fair election.’ And then he put all his opponents in jail.  And the Biden administration has done nothing, hasn’t it? Except stand there, sucking on its teeth,” Kennedy said in the video posted on X.

“We did not remove the sanctions,” Adeyemo maintained, noting the general license only suspended them.

“The problem is, that you want to quote Socrates in the middle of a bar fight,” Kennedy responded.

The Venezuelan sanctions, especially if they are not renewed after General License 44 expires, is just another example of how the Biden administration would rather cater to the interests of the enemies of the United States than allow for U.S. to utilize its energy resources.

Kennedy has long been a critic of the Biden administration’s energy policies. In a February news release posted to his Senate website, Kennedy declared that Biden “is committing energy suicide.”

“Energy independence is America’s jackpot lottery ticket. Now, we’ve worked hard for it, but it’s our jackpot lottery ticket, but, for some reason, President Biden wants to light our winning numbers on fire,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy charged Biden with putting the security of our nation at risk.

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Biden’s policies are “killing American jobs, they’re driving up energy prices, they’re jeopardizing our national security and it needs to stop, Mr. President,” Kennedy said.

It’s no secret that Biden has been at war with the development of American energy during his first term.

Two of his first actions as president were to revoke approval of the Keystone XL pipeline — which would have carried crude oil into the U.S. from Alberta, Canada — and impose a moratorium on oil and gas leasing on federal lands and waters.

And later on in his first year, President Biden called on OPEC+ producers to increase their oil supply to curb rising prices, instead of trying to use America’s status as one of the three largest producers in the world to fix the problem, Fox Business reported.

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That’s what makes his decision to lift the sanctions against Venezuela so demoralizing.

Instead of trying to increase domestic energy production, which would provide a needed and sustainable boost to our economy, Biden would rather allow Maduro, whose government has been accused in a United Nations report of committing crimes against humanity as part of a plan to repress dissent, to steal the thunder.

Is this what the president meant when he said he was going to “build back better?”

Unfortunately, this decision isn’t shocking.  It’s become a pattern of the Biden administration’s foreign policy agenda to put the interests of America’s enemies before our own (see the war in Afghanistan and resurrection of the Iran nuclear deal).

If President Biden, as he said in his inaugural address, really wants to make America “the leading force for good in the world,” why is he deliberately ignoring one of our nation’s greatest resources, and allowing our enemies to get stronger in the face of our weakness?

Instead of bending his knee to the radical left, President Biden could unleash American energy, and in the process create thousands of jobs and strengthen both our nation and our allies.

But, as its always seems with the 46th president, the ideology of the left reigns supreme over the interests of our nation.


This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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