What to Know in Washington: China Ban Leads GOP Energy Policy

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Republican legislation to ban sales from the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve to China, scheduled for House floor consideration Thursday, sets up the new House majority’s opening salvo on energy policy.

The measure (H.R. 22) would prohibit the sale and export of crude oil from the reserve to any entity under the “ownership, control, or influence” of the Chinese Communist Party. It would also require as a condition of sale that no SPR products are exported to China. However, it will likely be symbolic and not become law, given opposition in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

“China is now building a larger strategic petroleum reserve than we have here in the United States,” bill sponsor House Energy and Commerce Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) told reporters during an American Petroleum Institute event on Wednesday. “The infrastructure of the SPR needs to be addressed, and we need a plan to refill.”

Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images
McMorris Rodgers speaks at a hearing

The partisan legislation is the first energy bill the GOP-led chamber will consider on the floor in the 118th Congress. Similar legislation circulated in the last Congress but never advanced. Read more.

Happening on the Hill


  • The House meets at 9 a.m. to vote on a bill to bar the Energy Department from selling from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to China.
  • The Senate is not in session.

Join BGOV’s Jan. 18 Webinar: Bloomberg Government’s legislative analysts will set the stage for the year ahead on Capitol Hill in a Jan. 18 webinar. Find out more and register here.

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Around the Administration


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  • White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre holds a press briefing at 1:30 p.m.

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What Else to Know

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To contact the reporter on this story: Michaela Ross in Washington at mross@bgov.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Katrice Eborn at keborn@bgov.com

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