Russia is holding U.S. allies over a barrel with its ability to raise energy prices on a whim, Republican Majority Whip Sen. John Cornyn said Friday.

"They can easily use their control of energy resources to hold our partners over a barrel," the Texas senator said during the last day of a major energy conference in Houston, called IHS CERAWeek.

He said the U.S. must begin linking its energy policy to national security.

"We can no longer keep energy policy in its own distinct silo," Cornyn said. "We have to understand energy security is intrinsically linked to our overall security."

Congress began its move to address energy security in December when it lifted the 40-year-old ban on crude oil exports. Cornyn said the U.S. must begin exporting more oil and natural gas to stop the influence of countries such as Iran and Russia.

Earlier this week, the first shipment of natural gas left Louisiana for Brazil.

Cornyn said he wants to see more of those shipments heading to Europe and Asia.