Sen. Ted Budd (R-NC) introduced legislation on Tuesday that would block President Joe Biden from releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) until Biden allows for American energy development.
Budd introduced the Strategically Lowering Gas Prices Act, which aims to lower gas prices by preventing Biden from using the release of the SPR — which Republicans have criticized as an “election-year gimmick.”
Budd said his legislation would force Biden to return to “American energy independence.”
The North Carolina conservative said in a statement to Breitbart News, “Working Americans and small businesses alike are struggling with the high cost of fuel. At the same time, President Biden’s war on American energy has left him with precious few options to ease this economic pain. Instead of encouraging domestic production, his administration has begged foreign nations to increase their energy output, which increases America’s dependence on volatile international markets. He has also tapped our own emergency oil reserves to such an extent that we are no longer well-positioned to deal with the next crisis. The best way to lower fuel prices is for President Biden to reverse his radical environmentalist agenda and pursue an ‘all of the above’ strategy that gets us back to American energy independence. That’s what my bill will force President Biden to do.”
In January, Budd spoke on the Senate floor about the need to go back to an “America First” energy plan:
Biden used the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to lower gas prices when it was created in 1975 as a safety net in times of emergency and significant shortage. In November 2021, the Biden administration started using the SPR release to lower the increasing price of gasoline. By September 2023, the SPR was at its lowest level since June 1983.
The Strategically Lowering Gas Prices Act would ensure that presidents can only use the SPR for true emergencies when the administration’s actions are not negatively impacting the supply of gas and oil.
Sens. Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Eric Schmitt (R-MO), and Pete Ricketts (R-NE) joined Budd in sponsoring the legislation.
Schmitt said in a written statement, “Joe Biden’s disastrous energy policies and overzealous regulations have brought Americans immense pain at the pump. Biden’s climate alarmist measures have crippled domestic energy production, and recklessly unleashing hundreds of millions of barrels of crude oil from our Strategic Petroleum Reserve not only was extremely dangerous, it made matters worse. The Strategically Lowering Gas Prices Act will protect future political misuse of our SPR, incentivize domestic energy production, and works to ensure America becomes energy dominant again.”
“The Strategic Petroleum Reserve should be used for real emergencies, not political emergencies caused by failed policies,” Ricketts said in a written statement. “President Biden’s abuse of this oil reserve — for purely political purposes — has made us less safe and more reliant on our adversaries. This bill will correct this abuse and force the president to pursue an all-of-the-above energy strategy. America must get back to being energy independent.”
Sean Moran is a policy reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.