Houlahan Bill Bans Oil Exports to Foreign Adversaries

chinaImage by Miguel Á. Padriñán

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Friday, Representative Chrissy Houlahan (PA-06) introduced the bipartisan Banning Oil Exports to Foreign Adversaries Act which closes the loophole allowing the sale or export of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to our foreign adversaries. Covered under this ban are China, North Korea, Russia, Iran, and any country currently under sanction imposed by the United States. Representatives Don Bacon (R-NE) and Peter Meijer (R-MI), fellow members of the Problem Solvers Caucus, joined Houlahan in introducing the bill.

“Like many, I was shocked to learn that a Chinese company was able to purchase oil from our Strategic Reserves,” said Houlahan. “When I called on President Biden earlier this year to release oil to help lower the cost of gas for Americans, I thought this oil would stay within our borders, where it belongs. Today we’re taking the first step toward closing that loophole.”

“What message are we sending to the world when we sell our oil to tyrants waging war on peaceful democracies?” said Bacon. “With inflation, fuel, and cost of living at an all-time high, the Strategic Petroleum Reserve should not be serving our adversaries. We should be expanding American innovation and production here at home.”

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“Drawing down our own strategic reserves and providing those resources to our foreign adversaries is both reckless and harmful to U.S. national security interests,” said Meijer. “Energy security is national security. Our strategic stockpiles should only be used to protect and secure U.S. interests, not to support foreign regimes that seek to undermine our country. I am proud to join this commonsense, bipartisan effort to prevent our adversaries from accessing these strategically important resources.”

During the oil shocks of the 1970s, a ban was placed on the exporting of all U.S. oil. Congress lifted that ban in 2015 without making an exception for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The U.S. Department of Energy, which manages the SPR, conducts a competitive bidding process and automatically awards the oil contracts to the highest bidders. Chinese-owned and affiliated companies have won contracts in both President Biden’s and President Trump’s Administrations.

It was during her 63rd town hall that a constituent, Mr. Gary Doerries, raised the issue and asked Houlahan to do something about it. The next day her team started drafting the bill. Upon learning that Houlahan was introducing the Banning Oil Exports to Foreign Adversaries Act, Doerries said: “I don’t agree with her on most things but she’s the most responsive elected official I’ve ever worked with.”

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The bill now goes to the House Energy and Commerce Committee for debate. A similar bill, No Emergency Crude Oil to Foreign Adversaries Act, was recently introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senators John Kennedy (R-LA) and Ted Cruz (R-TX).

“There is wide bipartisan agreement that our nation’s strategic reserves should be put to strategic use here at home,” concluded Houlahan. “I’m hopeful that this is something we as a Congress can come together to get done for the American people and our national security.”

See full text of the legislation here.

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