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CASPER, WY – U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) appeared on Fox News Sunday with Trace Gallagher to discuss the Democrats’ reckless tax and spending bill, vaccine mandates, rising energy prices and the need to pass a national defense bill.

Below are key excerpts of the interview:

Click here to watch Barrasso on Fox News Sunday

On Biden’s Vaccine Mandate:

“You know, as a doctor, I am pro-vaccine and I’m anti-mandate. Vaccines work. We have a new variant. There is going to continue to be new variants in the future. Medicines are better now than they have been.

“I think the president was wrong with his mandate. I think it was a monumental overreach and I think it’s actually hardened people against the vaccine and the president has divided the country because of the mandate.

“The last guest just talked about the inflation that we have. We have 10 million job openings in this country and yet the president with his mandate wants to fire people who have been going to work every day since the pandemic started, people who may not want to get the vaccine. Police officers, firefighters, nurses, Border Patrol. So that is one part of it.

“The other is Joe Biden ran for office, basically hiding in his basement, saying he could protect America from Covid. Well he didn't. He can't. And more people have died of Covid under President Biden than did in all of 2020.”

On Democrats’ Reckless Tax & Spending Bill:

“We have record inflation right now. I view this as a back-breaking bill for the country with the kind of expenses, the spending, adding to the debt, the inflation, the taxes that are going to hit the American people. For Joe Biden to say we have to spend even more money on top of inflation, to me this is Alice in Wonderland logic. He is the Mad Hatter out here. He continues to try to mislead the American people.

“First saying the cost will be zero, zero, zero when the budget analysts have said it’s going to be hundreds of billions of dollars added to the debt. People’s taxes are going to go up. He said, oh no only if you make over $400,000 a year. That is not what experts are telling us. They say one out of three middle-class Americans will pay more in taxes. On all these issues and inflation across the board, people say we’re looking at persistent inflation. We cannot ignore inflation. That is the thing that is going to hurt our economy the most.

“We have an entire Republican Conference who wants to do everything we can to defeat it. I think the best Christmas present for the American people would be to block these increased taxes and block this bill that causes more inflation.”

On Biden Shutting Down American Energy Production:

“Today is one of the busiest travel days in America. As people are hitting the road, gas prices are hitting the roof. Day one in the White House, the president drew a target on the back of American energy and pulled the trigger.

“Now with this Strategic Petroleum Reserve, what he’s doing is basically trying to put a little band-aid on that bullet hole. The Strategic Petroleum Reserve is there for emergencies, national emergencies, war, not to cover over bad policies. The amount that he's releasing is equal to what we use in just two and a half days.

“And today, in America, we're using more oil from Russia, from Vladimir Putin’s Russia than we are from Alaska. This is a jackpot for Vladimir Putin. We have this oil in the ground, the president and the environmental movement will not let us use American oil, so President Biden is going hat in hand to OPEC and to Russia saying, please produce more oil so we can buy it from you. This is a disaster. It’s a major policy mistake. We need to be using American energy.”

On How to Lower Energy Prices:

“We use American energy. We stop the bans this administration has on energy.

“Senator Manchin, chairman of the Energy Committee of which I’m ranking member, said, ‘let's get the Keystone Pipeline going.’ We have the resources here.

“We are much stronger as a nation if we're selling energy to our friends than if we have to buy it from our enemies.

“I just got back from the Persian Gulf, I spent Thanksgiving there with Wyoming troops and talking to military leaders. After what happened in Afghanistan, our enemies are much more aggressive and to be giving a jackpot of additional money to Vladimir Putin is really in the long-term detriment to the United States.”

On the Need to Pass a Defense Bill:

“What I saw in the Persian Gulf was a much more aggressive Iran. Also, we are seeing it with Communist China, we’re seeing it with Vladimir Putin, and we’re seeing it with North Korea.

“And you talked about the things we haven't done yet in Congress – this National Defense Authorization Act should have been passed months ago. But it’s been on the back burner for Joe Biden and for Chuck Schumer.

“We never want to send our men and women in uniform into a fair fight. We want to make sure they can project strength, we want to make sure they have the equipment, manpower, firepower that they need.

“And this administration not just is wrong on energy, they have been very weak. This president has been weak on national defense. When he came into office, his first budget basically super-sized government on everything, except two areas where we didn't even keep up with inflation, one was defense, the other homeland security. Our nation deserves better.”