Today, after the White House announced plans to sell oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) -- the underground stockpile of crude oil maintained by the U.S. Department of Energy -- U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) issued the following statement:
"President Biden is standing up to Putin and OPEC and preventing them from manipulating our oil markets and war profiteering. Meanwhile, the Republican energy plan is to let foreign adversaries dictate what Americans pay for gas and complain that the President of the United States is lowering gas prices for drivers across the country.
"OPEC and big oil try to manipulate market perceptions to pad their profits. That is one reason why gas prices always shoot up so quickly after OPEC announces a cut, but take longer to come back down, even when the price hikes are unwarranted because there is plenty of supply to meet demand. Biden has thrown a wrench in OPEC's plans and it's benefitting average Americans.
"There are still over 400 million barrels of oil in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and the U.S. is more than capable of mobilizing to boost domestic supplies in case of any major disruption. Congress will have ample opportunity to top off the SPR with cheaper oil when prices come back to reality. Selling high and buying low can net taxpayers billions of dollars in real savings.
"President Biden is standing up to Putin's petro-aggression. That is what the American people elected him to do. The previous Administration tried cozying up to Putin and MBS and it didn't work.
"President Biden signed laws to make America more energy independent and is taking action to safeguard the United States and our allies from Putin's volatility.
"This White House supports domestic oil production. President Biden has encouraged oil companies to start drilling instead of hoarding the 9,000 approved-but-unused oil and gas permits they already have. Those leases have been approved but they're going unused because big oil doesn't see the upside to increasing production at the moment. They are supported by subsidies, raking in record windfall profits, and putting money toward executive payouts and stock buy backs instead of investing in drilling. They're unlikely to change unless they have to.
"Republicans cheered when Trump released oil from the SPR to impact oil prices and alleviate price disruptions in the marketplace, and there was a net decline of the SPR during his administration.
"Putin is waging war in Europe and trying to weaponize fuel markets and oil and gas disruptions as strategic leverage for his own political and financial gain. The American people are counting on President Biden to use all the tools at his disposal to protect America's interests and our economy and prevent consumers from getting gouged. Biden is keeping his word and delivering."