President Joe Biden’s order of a “temporary pause on pending decisions of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) exports” has inspired a rare bipartisan backlash.

Prominent Democrats like Sens. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) are publicly opposed to the policy. And when the U.S. House voted 224-200 in favor of a bill overturning Biden’s pause, nine Democrats crossed party lines to join the GOP majority.

But none of those bipartisan votes came from New Hampshire.

Both Reps. Ann Kuster and Chris Pappas voted against the Unlocking Our Domestic LNG Potential Act despite New Hampshire’s reliance on natural gas and fossil fuels to heat its homes and businesses.

According to the Energy Information Agency, “about three-fifths (59 percent) of New Hampshire households use petroleum products as their primary heating fuel, the second-largest share among the states and almost seven times greater than the national average.” About 40 percent of New Hampshire homes are heated by natural gas or propane.

And yet, the state’s four federal representatives have opposed multiple efforts to expand the domestic natural gas sector. That includes Biden’s pause on LNG exports.

The bill gives “exclusive authority” to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on all LNG terminals. Authority currently rests with the Department of Energy. The bill would declare natural gas exports and imports are “consistent with the public interest.”

A group of Republican senators, including Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), wrote Biden a letter urging him to reverse his decision.

“Shutting down our liquified natural gas exports is an insane decision by President Biden, caving to the far-left fringe of his base,” Tillis said in a statement. “It’s terrible for America’s economy. It’s terrible for America’s national security. And the biggest winner of this is Vladimir Putin.”

And yet Sens. Maggie Hassan and Jeanne Shaheen have been silent on Biden’s LNG pause.

Hassan’s silence is particularly noteworthy after she joined with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and a bipartisan group of Senators urging Biden to do more to get Iranian oil out of the international market.

“Iran is deriving significant economic benefits from pervasive sanctions evasion, with Iran’s economy growing by four percent annually and net foreign currency reserves also increasing by 45 percent from 2021 to 2023.
Surging oil exports and increasing sanctions evasions enable Iran to increase its financial and material support for Hamas and other terrorist proxies, including Hezbollah,” Hassan and her fellow Senators wrote.

One way to make Iranian oil less valuable is to increase U.S. production and exports — something Hassan has opposed in the past and that Biden is pausing today.

Advocates of America’s energy sector have been adamant in their opposition to Biden’s policy.

“President Biden has turned his Department of Energy into an obstructionist mechanism to undermine American energy production,” said Craig Stevens, spokesman for the Grow America’s Infrastructure Now Coalition and former senior advisor to Energy Secretary Sam Bodman. “The bipartisan vote to pass the Unlocking our Domestic LNG Potential Act is a clear signal to President Biden that his decision to pause permits for LNG export projects is a bad policy that will further enrich hostile foreign nations.”

And American Energy Alliance President Thomas Pyle called Biden’s shutdown of LNG exports “yet another attack on American consumers and the energy security of our allies. We applaud this effort to reverse one of the administration’s growing list of more than 175 wrongheaded decisions and unlock the energy potential of the U.S. energy industry.”

The Biden administration criticized the bill as unnecessary and counterproductive. A Statement of Administration Policy argued moving authority to FERC would “strip back important safeguards that prevent price pressure” on consumers. The administration added that energy security protections would also be rolled back.

Ironically, Pappas’ decision to stick with party leaders rather than join a bipartisan vote comes just days after he released a statement touting his standing as “among the most independent members of the 118th Congress.”

In fact, Pappas voted with the Democratic majority 90 percent of the time. In the current climate where most House Democrats stick with their party in 95 percent of all votes, breaking ranks just one vote out of 10 makes Pappas one of the most “bipartisan” members of his caucus.

America’s economy benefits greatly from natural gas production. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) projected last year that LNG exports would rise 152 percent between now and 2050. American LNG exports to Europe jumped 119 percent in 2022 after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“The ongoing war in Ukraine has exposed global dependence on Russian natural gas,” said Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas). He was the lead Democrat sponsor of the bill. “The United States has stepped up, and Europe has counted on American LNG exports to ween off their reliance on Russia – 68 percent of U.S. LNG exports are to Europe.”

Pappas and Kuster would not comment about their votes.