(CBrief) – The White House is attempting to deemphasize the fact that 113 Democrats in the House of Representatives joined Republicans to ban sales of oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve to China.
“The House has passed bipartisan legislation that would ban the export of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to Chinese companies. Given that oil has flowed to China from that reserve during both this administration and the previous one, is that the type of reform that the President would potentially support?” a reporter said to White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Monday.
“So, look, I think this is a little bit of what the Secretary was talking about just moments ago. This bill addresses a non-issue; we’re very clear on that. We focus — we’re focused on advancing legislation that would lower costs for American families, not raise them. So, I’m just going to leave it there,” she said.
The legislation, titled “Protecting America’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve from China Act,” passed in a landslide vote of 331-97 but now has to face a Democrat-led Senate.
“The bill prohibits the Department of Energy (DOE) from selling petroleum products (e.g., crude oil) from the SPR to any entity that is under the ownership, control, or influence of the Chinese Communist Party,” the legislation summary said.
Fox News reported.
Republican leaders on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, led by Ranking Member John Barrasso, R-Wyo., introduced companion bills of House legislation targeting President Biden’s use of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR).
The first bill, the Secure Auction for Energy Reserves Act which Barrasso introduced with Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, would prohibit the federal government from selling SPR stocks to China and other countries of particular concern. Earlier this month, the House passed similar legislation, the Protecting America’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve from China Act, by a margin of 331-97.
“China is profiting from President Biden’s political abuse of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve,” the senator said. “Meanwhile, America has become more vulnerable to true energy and national security emergencies.”
“Our legislation will ban SPR sales to China and other hostile nations,” he said. “It will also ban SPR sales to state-owned companies which purchase oil from Russia, Iran, and other nations the U.S. has sanctioned. Adversaries cannot be allowed to benefit from America’s security reserve.”
Sen. Collins said that it is “inexcusable that our emergency stockpile of crude oil is being sold to dictators overseas.”
Another piece of legislation that was introduced in the Senate on Tuesday, the “Strategic Production Response Act,” would only allow the Strategic Petroleum Reserves to be tapped by the Department of Energy only when there is a severe interruption to the supply and only after the Interior Department issues a plan to increase oil and gas production in the United States on federal lands and waters.
“America is stronger and safer when we are energy independent,” Sen. Barrasso said. “The Biden administration agenda is to choke off energy development on federal land. Our legislation will prevent President Biden from raiding the SPR for political purposes without boosting American oil production.”
“It’s time to work together to lower prices for Wyoming families, unleash American energy, and strengthen our national security,” he said.
Fox News reported.
Barrasso introduced the bill alongside Sens. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, Steve Daines, R-Mont., Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, John Hoeven, R-N.D., James Lankford, R-Okla., Bill Cassidy, R-La., Roger Marshall, R-Kan., Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., and Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss.
The bill is companion legislation to a bill with the same name introduced in the House by Energy and Commerce Committee Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., and which is slated for a floor vote this week. However, Democrats and the White House have taken aim at the House bill, saying it would lead to higher prices.
“We believe that there is room for bipartisanship to expand our ability to create more affordable, reliable energy in America,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said on Monday. “But proposals like H.R. 21, which risks raising these gas prices and making it offer to — harder to offer Americans relief in the future are simply nonstarters.”