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'Excuse me, what?': Top Democrat bemoans GOP's criticism of Biden because US is 'in a time of war'

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House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) sparked outrage Friday after claiming the United States is "in a time of war" while rebuking Republicans for criticizing President Joe Biden.

What did Hoyer say?

During a diatribe in which Hoyer chided Republicans for criticizing Biden's hostility toward oil as the U.S. experiences a gas price crisis, Hoyer suggested lawmakers' energies should be focused on the "enemy" because we are "in a time of war."

"It is unfortunate that in a time of war, that we spend all the time blaming our own president," Hoyer said.

Later in his speech, the No. 2 House Democrat exclaimed, "I wish we'd get off this and really focus on the enemy— I know there's a lot of politics, but we're at war, and we need to produce energy."

Hoyer also defended Biden's administration, claiming "[the] Biden administration approved more drilling permits in 2021 than the Trump administration approved in the first three years they were in office." While that is true, the number of approved drilling permits has plunged significantly this year, according to Politico.

Meanwhile, Hoyer also claimed that blame for the gas price crisis lies partially at the feet of oil companies, accusing them of focusing on profits despite the energy crisis. However, economists with the Federal Reserve of Dallas have debunked this Democratic talking point.

What was the reaction?

Republican lawmakers expressed concern over Hoyer's remarks because Congress has not declared war on Russia.

In fact, the last time Congress formally declared war came in December 1941 when the U.S. declared war against the Axis powers of World War II.

  • "Which country are we at war with, @LeaderHoyer? I don't remember a Declaration of War coming up for a vote recently," Rep. Yvette Herrell (R-N.M.) said.
  • "'In a time of war.' — did we vote on a declaration of war? Asking for a friend," Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) asked.
  • "*checks notes* Excuse me, what?" Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga.) reacted.
  • "Congress has not voted to go to war. What is wrong with you, @LeaderHoyer?" Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) asked.

Outgoing-White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked about Hoyer's comments Friday afternoon, but she did not offer any real clarification.

"I did not see the full context of his comments. What I'm betting he was referring to was the war in Ukraine with Russia that obviously the U.S. has a stake in given the amount of military, humanitarian, economic assistance we've provided," Psaki said.

TheBlaze reached out to the majority leader's office seeking clarification, but has not yet heard back.

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