What to Know in Washington: GOP Probes Biden Tapping Oil Reserve

House Republicans are launching an investigation into what they say could be the “potential misuse” by the Biden administration of the nation’s emergency oil reserves to lower gasoline prices, as well as White House deliberations over a fuel-export ban.

The move by the Republicans on the House Committee on Oversight and Reform previews a more robust probe if the GOP takes control of the chamber after the November midterm elections, a development that would grant them the power to subpoena key administration officials of President Joe Biden.

Photographer: Chris Kleponis/CNP/Bloomberg
Biden speaks during a meeting at the White House in Washington, DC, on Wednesday.

Committee Republicans, in a letter Wednesday, said they were examining the use of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve by the administration amid a historic 180 million barrel release that began in the Spring. The Republicans also said in the letter to Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm that it was seeking information about a possible export ban of refined petroleum products.

“We are concerned that the president may soon impose an oil and gas export ban that will result in even higher gas prices, supply chain issues, global market upheaval, and reduced energy security for the US and our allies,” said the letter which was led by Rep. James Comer (Ky.), the committee’s top Republican, and Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.).

The letter comes amid Republican ire over the administration’s use of the SPR to tame high gasoline prices ahead of the Nov. 8 midterm elections that will decide control of Congress. The White House announced last week it was offloading 15 million barrels of oil from the reserve, the final tranche of the 180 million barrel release aimed at stemming soaring gasoline and oil prices as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and surging demand as the pandemic came to an end. Biden said further releases from the oil reserve are possible in the months ahead. Ari Natter has the story.

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Election, Politics & Probes

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To contact the reporters on this story: Brandon Lee in Washington at blee@bgov.com; Michaela Ross in Washington at mross@bgov.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Giuseppe Macri at gmacri@bgov.com