Administration officials called Republican claims of President Joe Biden funneling oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to China “ridiculous and false.”
“Some Republican members of Congress are suggesting that the president and the Biden administration are funneling oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to specific foreign companies for nefarious reasons,” White House spokesman Ian Sams told Fox News Friday. “This accusation is ridiculous and false, and if they took the initiative to examine some basic facts, they would see that.”
He was referring to a letter sent to the president by nearly one dozen Republican members of Congress critizing his administration’s decision to sell oil to China.
The Republican lawmakers warned President Biden that if he does “not explain all details of this sale and justify it to the American people, this Congress will hold you accountable should you continue to misuse our emergency oil supply and use the office of the presidency for your personal benefit.”
“At what point does the lunacy stop?” asked Republican Representative Lisa McClain (Mich.) in a Twitter post. “We must hold this Administration accountable for their outrageous actions.” Her remarks appeared above a copy of the letter to the president.
The administration spokesman explained the Department of Energy is “required by law to sell it ‘in a competitive auction to the highest bidder,’ regardless of whether that bidder is a foreign company.” Sams added that the Trump administration sold crude oil from the strategic reserve through the same competitive bidding process.
During the 45th president’s administration, Chinese state-owned PetroChina International bought approximately 500,000 barrels in 2017, Sams noted. He added that Saudi Arabia’s Motiva was the successful bidder for more than 6.6 million barrels from 2018-2020.
“The Republican members of Congress criticizing President Biden now do not appear to have raised concerns about the sales under President Trump,” Sams said wryly. “And, so far, they seem pretty silent about whether they think President Trump was wrong.”
The spokesman claimed that actions by the president, such as releasing around one million barrels per day from the strategic reserve, are helping bring down gas prices at the pump. Sams further noted President Biden convinced global partners to release an extra 240 million barrels of oil to increase supply, which helped ease pressure on gas prices.
“The hypocrisy of these Republican members of Congress — slamming the Biden administration for following the rules and doing exactly what the Trump administration also did — isn’t surprising, but it reveals just how eager they are to use lies to attack the president,” Sams said, according to the Fox News report.