Sen. Cruz on The Michael Berry Show: Once We Get This Pandemic Under Control, Thats When We Will Get the Economy Roaring Again
HOUSTON, Texas - During his statewide tele-tour to connect with men and women on the frontlines combatting COVID-19, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) called into Houston's Michael Berry Show to talk about the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic to public health, the economy, and the energy industry.
When asked about the White House energy roundtable he attended last week and protecting millions of energy sector jobs, Sen. Cruz explained the parallel challenges facing the America's energy producers: a decline in oil prices as a result of the Saudis and Russians flooding the oil market, and a dramatic reduction in energy demand as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
On the decline in oil prices, Sen. Cruz said:
"I think that there are a number of things [we can do]. One is press very, very hard on the Saudis and the Russians [...] I joined with 12 other Senators, we wrote a letter to the Saudi Ambassador, blasting Saudi Arabia for slashing prices and trying to destroy Texas energy companies. We then did a call with a total of nine Senators with the Saudi Ambassador, that I got to tell you was as raw and bare-knuckled, it was unlike any conversation I have had with a foreign leader since my time in the Senate. [...] I will say coming out of that meeting, I think the message was heard loud and clear."
On the reduction in energy demand, Sen. Cruz added:
"The other big challenge though in energy, is even if we get the Saudis and the Russians to stop screwing with us, the broader challenge is with the coronavirus shut down, we've seen a demand [reduction] of between 25 and 30 million barrels a day. Simply put, people are not driving their cars and they are not flying jet airplanes. And gasoline and especially airplane fuel are a huge component of the typical demand. [...] When we defeat this pandemic, which we are going to, we are going to go back to work, we are going to get back to driving cars, we are going to get back to getting on airplanes and that means demand will come back. We don't know when, if its two weeks or four weeks or six weeks, we don't know how long it's going to be, but it's going to happen."
He continued, applauding President Trump for directing Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette to work with Steven Mnuchin to ensure America's energy producers have critical access to capital:
"What I am focused very aggressively on in the interim, is access to capital. This is a concern I have raised with the President and I have been having meetings around the clock on is making sure that banks are willing to loan money to these energy companies so that they can have essentially bridge loans to survive."
"The most significant deliverable that came out of the meeting with the President is that the President directed Dan Brouillette, the Energy Secretary, to work with Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury Secretary, to make sure that banks are not discriminating against energy companies. That they are allowing them access to capital. That is really the approach of Congress through this crisis, is ensuring liquidity, ensuring that people can get bridge loans to survive the economic crisis and still be viable on the other side."
When asked about the United States' response to the crises and what can be done to protect the economy, Sen. Cruz said:
"It is an incredibly hard question and a hard challenge. [...] I think our priority needs to be protecting human life, keeping people safe, keeping people alive. It is clear that the coronavirus is a threat to human life, that we have seen deaths in Texas, in the United States, we've seen deaths worldwide. And we need to be acting vigorously to prevent those deaths.
"At the same time, if we go through weeks and weeks or even months and months of an economic shutdown - of everyone sheltering in place, of nobody going out of businesses - we know, to an absolute fact, that deaths will result from that as well. [...]
"We have got to balance those. We have got to weigh them. I am not saying one needs to dominate over the other, but we need to consider both. I hope we get back to work soon. We will get back to work once we see the numbers coming down and once we get this pandemic under control, that's when we are going to be able to talk about getting people back to work, to get the economy in recovery and roaring again."
On Monday, Sen. Cruz called into Fox News' America's Newsroom, where he highlighted the provisions of the CARES Act, and the Ingraham Angle, where he slammed Democrats for using this crisis to attack President Trump and advance their partisan agenda.
For COVID-19 information and additional resources, visit www.cruz.senate.gov/coronavirus/.