President Joe Biden is expected to make an announcement regarding a possible trip to Saudi Arabia as he looks at foreign assistance to abate the ever-increasing pain at the gas pump.
“There was a visit in the works," said Jean-Pierre. "But it wasn’t moved or postponed. It was—that reporting is actually not accurate. We were still having discussions, it was being considered, but it was never locked in.”
When asked whether “obtaining the oil” was more important, Jean-Pierre said, “there’s no question that important interests are interwoven with Saudi Arabia.”
Republicans have pointed to the Biden administration’s blocking of the Keystone XL pipeline, suspending new oil leases on federal lands, and failing to bring additional oil output online from existing offshore federal oil leases by issuing necessary permits as major factors contributing to the elevated gas prices.
Attempts by U.S. officials to convince Saudi Arabia to increase oil production have been unsuccessful so far with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman reportedly rejecting a phone call from Biden in March.
Holding 15 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves, Saudi Arabia is the largest exporter of crude oil in the world, with a production capacity of nearly 12 million barrels per day. It is also one of the biggest producers of oil in the world, second to only the United States.
Along with Saudi Arabia, Biden is expected to visit Israel as part of a broader Middle East trip.