AP

House votes to block China from buying oil from US reserves

Jan 12, 2023, 10:36 AM | Updated: 11:40 pm

FILE - Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., leaves the Speaker's office to walk to the House chamb...

FILE - Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., leaves the Speaker's office to walk to the House chamber, Friday, Jan. 6, 2023, to attend the 14th vote for speaker of the House, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Republican-controlled House on Thursday voted to block oil from the country’s emergency stockpile from going to China.

The bill, one of the first introduced by the new GOP majority, would prohibit the Energy Department from selling oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to companies owned or influenced by the Chinese Communist Party. It passed easily, 331-97, with 113 Democrats joining unanimous Republicans in support.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., the new head of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said the bill would help end what she called President Joe Biden’s “abuse of our strategic reserves.”

Biden withdrew 180 million barrels from the strategic reserve last year in a bid to halt rising gasoline prices amid production cuts by OPEC and a ban on Russian oil imports following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. The monthslong sales brought the stockpile to its lowest level since the 1980s. The administration said last month it will start to replenish the reserve now that oil prices have gone down.

McMorris Rodgers accused Biden of using the reserve to “cover up his failed policies” that she said are driving up energy prices and inflation.

“Draining our strategic reserves for political purposes and selling it to China is a significant threat to our national and energy security. This must be stopped,” McMorris Rodgers said.

The measure is the first in a series of GOP proposals aimed at “unleashing American energy production,” McMorris Rodgers said as Republicans seek to boost U.S. production of oil, natural gas and other fossil fuels.

“There’s more to come. This is just the beginning,” she said.

Democrats, including former Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone of New Jersey, said Republicans were trying to fix a problem of their own making. China is among numerous potential adversaries that buy U.S. oil after the GOP-led Congress lifted an export ban in 2015.

“If Republicans were serious about addressing this issue, they would have brought forward a bill that banned all oil exports to China,” Pallone said, adding that sales from the strategic reserve amounted to about 2% of U.S. oil sold to China last year.

“If we truly want to address China using American oil to build its reserves, let’s actually take a serious look at that, rather than skirt around the issue because Republicans are scared of Big Oil’s wrath,” Pallone said.

The current process allows for crude oil sales from the strategic reserve to companies that make the highest offer, which includes U.S. subsidiaries of foreign oil companies, and they could then export that crude oil overseas. Last year, millions of barrels of oil from the U.S. reserves wound up being exported to China, including to a subsidiary of China’s state-run oil company, Sinopec.

The Energy Department said in a statement Thursday that Biden “rightly authorized emergency use” of the strategic reserve, also known as the SPR, to address supply disruptions and “provide relief to American families and refineries when needed the most.”

The Treasury Department estimates that release of oil from the emergency stockpile lowered prices at the pump by up to 40 cents per gallon. Gasoline prices, meanwhile, averaged about $3.27 per gallon on Thursday, down from just over $5 per gallon at their peak in June, according to the AAA auto club.

“By law we are required to select the highest value bid to ensure the best return for taxpayers, and since 2017 the vast majority of oil sold from the reserve is sold to American entities,” the Energy Department said. Over the last five years, less than 3% of oil from the strategic reserve has gone to China, officials said.

The House bill now goes to the Democratic-controlled Senate. Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., has introduced a similar measure.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Most Americans are sleepy new Gallup poll finds...

Associated Press

Most Americans say they don’t get enough sleep, according to new Gallup poll

A new Gallup poll found that most Americans are sleepy — or, at least, they say they are. Multiple factors play into this.

1 day ago

Near-total abortion ban in Arizona dates back to Civil War era...

Associated Press

Near-total abortion ban dates back to 1864, during the Civil War, before Arizona was a state

The near-total abortion ban resurrected last week by the Arizona Supreme Court dates to 1864, when settlers were encroaching on tribal lands.

1 day ago

Tracy Toulou...

Associated Press

How to tackle crime in Indian Country? Empower tribal justice, ex-Justice Department official says

A recently retired director of the Justice Dept. says the federal government hasn't given tribal justice systems equal recognition.

2 days ago

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson...

Associated Press

House Speaker Mike Johnson says he will push for aid to Israel and Ukraine this week

House Speaker Mike Johnson said Sunday he will try to advance wartime aid for Israel this week, along with funding for Ukraine.

2 days ago

President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign rally Saturday, March 9, 2024, at Pullman Yards in Atlanta...

Associated Press

US shoots down ‘nearly all’ Iran-launched attack drones as Biden vows support for Israel’s defense

Joe Biden cut short a weekend stay at his beach house to meet with his national security team as Iran launched an attack against Israel.

4 days ago

Protesters in Phoenix shout as they join thousands marching around the Arizona state Capitol after ...

Associated Press

Abortion ruling supercharges Arizona to be an especially important swing state

A ruling this week instituting a near-total abortion ban supercharged Arizona's role, turning it into the most critical battleground.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

House votes to block China from buying oil from US reserves