Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said Monday that President Biden would veto a bill being pushed by House Republicans that would limit his ability to draw from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR).
The bill, the Strategic Production Response Act, calls for increasing domestic oil and gas production on federal lands to offset any future drawdowns from the reserve, which reached its lowest levels since 1983 last month.
“If Congress were to pass H.R. 21, the president would veto it,” Granholm said at a White House press briefing on Monday. “He will not allow the American people to suffer because of the backwards agenda that House Republicans are advancing.”
Biden first ordered the Department of Energy to tap into the SPR in November 2021, saying it was a “major effort to moderate the price of oil” and lower prices at the average “corner gas station.” After Russia invaded Ukraine last year, Biden announced a 30-million-barrel release and another 180-million-barrel release in March 2022.
While Biden has blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin and energy companies for spikes in gas prices over the last year, Republicans have keyed in on the administration’s domestic energy policies.
The Department of Energy released a report earlier this month that found the Keystone XL project, which Biden canceled in January 2021 upon taking office, would have had a positive economic impact of between $3.4-9.6 billion and created 16,149 to 59,000 jobs.
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Sen. Steve Daines. R-Mont., called the cancelation of the pipeline “the first step in the Biden administration’s war on oil and gas production in the United States.”
House Republicans are expected to vote on the Strategic Production Response Act this week, but the bill faces an uphill battle in the Democrat-controlled Senate.
It comes after the House passed a bill on Jan. 12 that would ban the Department of Energy from selling oil from the SPR to China.
The White House has touted the drawdowns from the SPR as necessary to counteract a global supply crunch over the past year.
“[The Strategic Production Response Act] would not offer any tangible benefits to the American people. Instead, it would interfere with our ability to be responsive, to release oil during an international emergency, helping Putin’s war aims,” Grahnholm said Monday.
Fox Business’ Thomas Catenacci contributed to this report.