House Republicans will vote Thursday on legislation that would require any non-emergency drawdown of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to also be accompanied by increased oil leasing on federal lands.
H.R. 21, the Strategic Production Response Act, was introduced earlier this month by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.).
Americans for Tax Reform supports H.R. 21 and urges all Members of Congress to vote “YES.”
On Wednesday, Americans for Tax Reform joined a coalition of conservative and free-market organizations backing the Strategic Production Response Act.
Since President Biden was inaugurated in January 2021, his administration has liquidated nearly 270 million barrels of oil from the SPR, or about 42 percent of total reserves. As a result, the SPR now sits at its lowest level in almost 40 years, posing a significant threat to national security if the U.S. were to face an embargo, war, or other oil-related emergency. The burden of Biden draining the SPR will be shifted to taxpayers once the Department of Energy eventually restocks the SPR.
The SPR was established by President Gerald Ford in 1975 to provide a backup supply of oil for the United States in the event of a severe emergency or embargo. However, instead of maintaining oil reserves to help the nation survive a potential future crisis, the Biden administration began draining oil from the SPR to cover up for their ill-advised energy policies which caused gas prices to skyrocket ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.
Since the day Biden took office, his administration has made it their goal to hinder the fossil fuel industry in the United States, with deleterious effects for American consumers and taxpayers. Biden began his presidency by suspending new oil and natural gas leases on public lands and waters, cancelling the Keystone XL pipeline, and rejoining the disastrous Paris Climate Accords. His signature legislative projects like the so-called “Inflation Reduction Act” also added new inflationary taxes on oil and natural gas production.
If passed, the new bill will help to ensure that President Biden––and future presidents––cannot again use the SPR for personal political benefit, as Biden did leading up to the November elections. In the event that non-emergency releases do occur, the bill would also ensure that domestic production is able to be ramped up, increasing supply and therefore driving down costs for Americans at the pump.
Despite the White House placing the blame for lack of supply on oil producers, Biden has leased fewer acres offshore and on federal lands for drilling than any president since World War II. H.R. 21 is one important step in holding the Biden administration accountable and increasing the domestic energy supply to help lower costs for consumers.
Once H.R. 21 clears the House of Representatives, it must next be passed by the Senate. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) on Tuesday introduced a companion bill in the Senate alongside Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Jim Risch (R-Idaho).
In addition to the upcoming vote on H.R. 21, earlier this month House Republicans passed H.R. 22, the Protecting America’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve from China Act. H.R. 22 would prohibit sales of resources from the SPR to entities controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.
Americans for Tax Reform urges members of Congress to support both of these crucial pieces of legislation to protect the Strategic Petroleum Reserve from abuse by the Biden administration.