WASHINGTON ( Associated Press) – The Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted Thursday to block the sale of US oil reserves to China.
The bill, one of the first introduced by the new Republican majority, would ban the Department of Energy from selling crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to companies owned or influenced by the Chinese Communist Party. The measure passed easily, 331–97, unanimously by Republicans, with 113 Democrats supporting the measure.
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a Washington Republican and the new head of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said the bill would help end President Joe Biden’s “abuse of our strategic reserves.”
Biden withdrew 180 million barrels from the strategic reserve last year to curb rising gasoline prices amid OPEC production cuts and sanctions on Russian oil imports following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The month-long selloff brought inventories to their lowest level since the late 1980s. The administration said last month it would begin replenishing reserves now that oil prices have fallen.
McMorris Rodgers accused Biden of using the reserve to “cover up his failed policies” which she says are increasing energy prices and inflation.
“Emptying our strategic stockpiles and selling them to China for political purposes is a major threat to our national and energy security. This must stop,” McMorris said.
McMorris Rodgers said it is the first step in a series of GOP proposals aimed at “highlighting American energy production,” as Republicans seek to boost American production of oil, natural gas and other fossil fuels.
“There’s more to come. This is just the beginning,” he said.