President Joe Biden speaks at Onondaga Community College on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2022, in Syracuse, N.Y.
CNN  — 

President Joe Biden escalated weeks of sharp warnings to energy producers on Monday by floating a so-called “windfall” tax on their corporate profits, calling out major gas companies for racking up gains from a spike in prices he attributes to Russia’s war in Ukraine.

“Record profits today are not because they’re doing something new or innovative. The profits are a windfall of war,” Biden said in brief remarks from the Roosevelt Room alongside Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm.

The speech came as Americans face continued high prices at the gas pump in the final stretch of the midterm campaign season. Biden raised the possibility of pursuing the tax proposal, among other ideas, during hastily scheduled remarks at the White House Monday afternoon. It marked the latest in a series of policy and rhetorical efforts to battle high gas prices as Democrats brace for bruising midterm elections.

Biden spoke just days after several global energy giants posted a round of massive corporate profits and after several months of Biden targeting oil executives in a push to drive private sector actions to increase production and capacity, and, in turn, drive down high prices at the pump.

The president called on oil companies to “act beyond their narrow self-interest,” arguing they had a responsibility to “act in the interest of their consumers, their community and their country to invest in America by increasing production and re