Democrats in the House of Representatives voted down a Republican bill designed to replenish the U.S. strategic oil reserve after the recent decision of Joe Biden to implement the largest release of oil in the history of the reserve. House Democrats voted unanimously to kill consideration of the proposed Strategic Production Response Act on Tuesday.
The bill was sponsored by Reps. Steve Scalise (R-LA), Fred Upton (R-MI), and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and would require the Department of Energy to create a plan to increase domestic gas production on federal land in the event the president releases additional oil from the strategic reserve under non-emergency conditions.
Democrats moved to block American energy production weeks after Biden ordered the release of 50 million barrels of crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Oil from the reserve is typically reserved for emergency use only. For example, George W. Bush released 30 million barrels after Hurricane Katrina as part of the recovery effort.
Biden’s decision to pull oil from the reserve was not in response to an emergency but a response to political pressure mounting amid skyrocketing gas prices. Retail gas prices have increased more than a dollar per gallon since the beginning of the Biden administration.
Daniel Turner is the founder of the public interest organization Power the Future and said the vote by House Democrats is another step on the path of “squandering America’s energy independence.” He also told the Washington Free Beacon that it is “pathetic” that Democrats voted against a measure to get “energy workers back on the job.” He added that anyone who votes against responsible energy development is also against American energy independence.
Domestic oil and gas production has been hit hard during the Biden administration, following Biden’s campaign that centered on promises to combat climate change through federal punitive measures. He canceled the Keystone XL Pipeline on his first day in office and then moved quickly to suspend oil and gas drilling on federal land.
Rep. McMorris Rodgers issued a statement saying that Biden’s release of oil from the reserve threatens American energy and national security. She noted that Congress created the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to deal with emergency conditions and disruptions in oil supply during natural disasters or because of war. She said that the reserve is not there to “bailout the president’s anti-fossil fuel agenda.”