(CNSNews.com) - Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is among the many members of Congress pushing the Biden administration to stop buying Russian energy since Americans have plentiful supplies right here.
"The people in my State of West Virginia believe it's basically foolish for us to keep buying products and giving profit and giving money to Putin to be able to use against the Ukrainian people. That's exactly what he's doing. So why wouldn't we lead? Why wouldn't we show the resolve we have?" Manchin asked during an appearance on "Meet the Press" on Sunday.
"I understand there's more dependency in the world. But you know, here's the problem, we have the ability to ratchet up and be able to backfill. We have the energy, we have the resources here. And we have the technology.
“We're a million barrels short a day right now that we could just ramp up like that. We can do certain things. And we don't have to put any more pain on the American people who are already suffering with inflation now. But I believe the American people would basically pay, if they had to, seeing that they're saving freedom and saving lives of people -- innocent people.”
Host Chuck Todd mentioned the possibility of gas reaching $5 a gallon (it's already $6 or more in parts of California).
"Well, look at the gas now, $4.00," Manchin said:
"It wasn't because of this. Inflation's already wreaked havoc on it now. And basically, we're going to say we're going to step back now because we're afraid it might go up a little bit more? It might go up anyway, and we haven't done nothing.
"I'm willing to at least do something and say whatever it would take, we're going to ramp up our energy, we're going to basically produce the oil, the natural gas, build the pipelines. We've been stymied. We're not getting anything done from the standpoint of energy.
"We can do both, Chuck. We can do the energy that we need as far as in this fossil world that we live in, and do it cleaner than anybody else in the world and innovation. But we can also transition to a cleaner technology."
Manchin said his main concern right now is "inflation."
"It's affecting every West Virginian and every American that I know of, has basically told me the high prices they're paying, they can't -- they sustain. And it's hurting the people that need it the most, people that are working like the dickens, trying to make a living. They need help. So inflation's the number one thing.
"Basically, supporting Ukraine and saving freedom and democracy around the world, because it will permeate if we don't stop it. Next of all, we can do all of this. OK? But you've got to get your financial house in order.
"My grandfather always said, 'Joe,' he said, 'Unmanaged debt will make cowardly decisions out of you. You'll make a cowardly decision.' We've got to get that under control."
Manchin drew a distinction between "aspirational things we want to do" and realistic goals.
"We're living in the real world," the senator said.
"Global climate is global. It's not North American. It's not United States only. It's global. And we have to look at this, what we can do. Our energy that we produce in America is better and cleaner than any place else in the world. So anything that we backfill is going to be better than what they produce.
“The gas from LNG that we can send over, expanding the ports, we've got basically requests for permits that are still standing and we haven't given. We need to do that.
"We've got pipeline -- I've got a Mountain Valley pipeline in the state of West Virginia, that takes -- it will take two BCF, two billion cubic feet a day, into the marketplace immediately. And you know what? It's 95 percent done. I can't get it done."