Throughout much of 2022, in an effort to artificially reduce and stabilize skyrocketing gas prices, President Joe Biden intermittently drained more than 180 million barrels of oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve, some of which was ultimately sold to entities controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.
The Republican-led House on Thursday voted overwhelmingly in a bipartisan fashion to pass a bill that would ban the U.S. government from making any future sales or exports of oil from the strategic reserve to any entities owned or controlled by China’s communist regime, the Daily Wire reported.
According to the House Clerk, the final vote was 331-97, with 113 Democratic members crossing the aisle to vote “Yes” on the bill alongside 218 of their GOP colleagues, while six members — four Republicans and two Democrats — did not vote on the bill.
Biden actions a “significant threat to our national and energy security”
The bill, H.R. 22, titled the “Protecting America’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve from China Act,” simply stated that “the Secretary of Energy shall not draw down and sell petroleum products from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve — (1) to any entity that is under the ownership, control, or influence of the Chinese Communist Party; or (2) except on the condition that such petroleum products will not be exported to the People’s Republic of China.”
That legislation had been introduced by Rep. Catherine McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), who said in a statement on Thursday, “To cover up his failed policies driving our energy and inflation crisis, President Biden is draining our nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserves at an alarming rate.”
“America’s SPR — once the world’s largest stockpile — have been depleted to the lowest levels since 1983. To date, President Biden has released more from the SPR than all U.S. presidents in history combined,” she continued. “Millions of barrels of that oil have gone to China, which now has the world’s largest government-controlled stockpile of oil.”
“Draining our strategic reserves for political purposes and selling it to China is a significant threat to our national and energy security,” the congresswoman added. “This must be stopped, which is why I’m proud to join my Republican colleagues in passing H.R. 22, one of the most bipartisan votes on an energy bill in many years and multiple congresses. There’s more to come. This is just the beginning.”
Concerns raised over sale of strategic oil reserves to a Chinese company
Above and beyond President Biden’s ill-advised decision to drain the Strategic Petroleum Reserve — which is supposed to be held back for major supply disruptions or national emergencies — in order to reduce surging gas prices, legitimate concerns had been raised by some lawmakers about the fact that some of that released oil was ultimately sold to a company owned by the communist regime in China.
In fact, top GOP members of the House Oversight and Reform Committee in September had sent a letter to Energy Sec. Jennifer Granholm to express those concerns and demand answers for what had occurred.
They specifically highlighted in that letter that nearly a million barrels had been sold to Unipec America, a subsidiary of the regime-owned Sinopec, which had acted in support of Russia in its invasion of Ukraine, raising the possibility that the U.S. oil could have been used to aid Russia’s military activities.
Concerns were also raised about the apparent links between a Hunter Biden-owned private equity firm and the Chinese oil company, meaning the Biden family could conceivably have financially benefited from the sale of the previously reserved oil to China.
Dem-led Senate unlikely to vote on the bill
ABC News reported that despite the strong showing of bipartisan support in the House for Rep. McMorris Rodgers’ bill, the measure was unlikely to become law as the Democrat-controlled Senate seemed unlikely to hold a vote of its own on the legislation any time soon.
Meanwhile, the outlet further noted that additional energy-related bills could soon receive a vote in the House, according to House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA), including a top priority measure dubbed the “Strategic Product Response Act.”
That bill, if passed into law, would prohibit the U.S. from releasing any oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve for non-emergency purposes unless the drawdown was accompanied by a specific plan to increase energy production on federal lands.