House votes to block China from buying oil from US reserves

Jan 11, 2023, 7:36 PM | Updated: Jan 12, 2023, 3:55 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

FILE - Motown's Barrett Strong arrives at the induction ceremony for 35th annual National Academy o...
Associated Press

Barrett Strong, Motown artist known for ‘Money,’ dies at 81

NEW YORK (AP) — Barrett Strong, one of Motown’s founding artists and most gifted songwriters who sang lead on the company’s breakthrough single “Money (That’s What I Want)” and later collaborated with Norman Whitfield on such classics as “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” “War” and “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone,” has died. He was […]
19 hours ago
Associated Press

3 kids taken in Nebraska carjacking found with frostbite

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (AP) — Three young children were being treated for frostbite in Nebraska Sunday after police said two suspects stole an SUV while they were inside. Around 3 a.m. Sunday, when temperatures were around 0 degrees, a man reported that his 2012 Chevrolet Traverse had been stolen with his three children inside, said […]
19 hours ago
Associated Press

Julie Otsuka, Ed Yong win Carnegie Medals for Excellence

NEW YORK (AP) — Novelist Julie Otsuka has strong memories of libraries from her childhood California — the bike rides with her best friend to the local branch; the soft, firm sound of librarians closing books; the shopping bags she and her friend would fill with science fiction and other stories. “It seemed like I […]
19 hours ago
FILE - Netherland's Prime Minister Mark Rutte, left, speaks with U.S. President Joe Biden during a ...
Associated Press

Source: Dutch, Japanese join US limits on chip tech to China

WASHINGTON (AP) — Japan and the Netherlands have agreed to a deal with the U.S. to restrict China’s access to materials used to make advanced computer chips, a person familiar with the agreement told The Associated Press on Sunday. The person declined to be identified because the deal hasn’t yet been formally announced. It’s unclear […]
19 hours ago
Associated Press

Missouri mom convicted of killing her infant twins

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A Missouri mother who reported that her infant twins were stillborn has been convicted of manslaughter. Maya Caston, 28, was convicted Friday of second-degree involuntary manslaughter and two counts of child endangerment. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that jury found her guilty of lesser charges instead of convicting her of second-degree […]
19 hours ago
Associated Press

Trucks crash into commuters in Nigeria’s south; 20 dead

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Two separate road crashes involving trucks in southern Nigeria left 20 people dead including children, authorities said Sunday, with many of the victims burned beyond recognition. In Nigeria’s commercial hub of Lagos, a truck carrying a heavy container landed on a commercial bus on a busy bridge in the Ojuelegba area […]
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
House votes to block China from buying oil from US reserves