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Pallone Blasts Republicans for Tanking Amendment to Bolster Energy Independence and Lower Gas Prices

Jan 27, 2023
Press Release

Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) released the following statement after Republicans refused to take up his Buy Low and Sell High Act as an amendment to H.R. 21, the Strategic Production Response Act, which is being considered on the House Floor today:

“Today Republicans tanked the opportunity to empower the Department of Energy to buy oil when prices are low and sell it when prices are high. This commonsense measure would protect drivers from dramatic price spikes and make money for taxpayers at the same time, but one thing is clear: Republicans aren’t interested in lowering gas prices or engaging in serious legislating. For all the Speaker’s talk about opening up the floor to more debate, when push comes to shove, Republicans aren’t willing to hear out dissenting opinions on their bills and aren’t secure enough in their ideas to even let amendments like mine come up for a vote.

“Releasing oil from the SPR has been done by presidents of both parties for decades, and Republicans had no problem with it then. But unfortunately, this isn’t the same Republican Party. Today’s Republicans seem singularly focused on fomenting baseless outrage over the SPR in an effort to score political points. It’s a shame they rejected the opportunity to include serious, thoughtful solutions for managing our SPR today.”

Pallone introduced the Buy Low and Sell High Act for the 118th Congress last week. The bill gives the President the ability to better protect American consumers by designating a subset of the SPR as the “Economic Petroleum Reserve” (EPR). It grants DOE the ability to sell barrels from the EPR when prices are high – above $90 per barrel – ensuring that Americans get immediate price relief instead of waiting months or years. DOE would then also have the authority to purchase oil for the EPR when prices are low – below $60 per barrel – to refill our reserves at a lower cost, making money for taxpayers.

A recent Wall Street Journal analysis found that the United States made nearly $4 billion in profit from President Biden’s recent SPR sales.

In addition to creating the EPR, Pallone’s bill also:

  • Prohibits barrels stored within the SPR from being exported or sold to entities owned, controlled, or influenced by China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, or any other country under U.S. sanctions;
  • Establishes strategic gasoline and diesel reserves in every region of the United States, ensuring product can be deployed immediately during emergencies, such as the Colonial Pipeline malware attack;
  • Reduces our reliance on foreign oil and empowers states to lead the transition to electric vehicles (EVs) by investing profits from oil sales in state EV infrastructure programs; and
  • Ensures that the federal government leads by example and sets targets for acquiring a fully zero-emission federal vehicle fleet.