President Biden will veto a House Republican bill that would restrict the release of oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) emergency reserve, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said on Monday.
“If Congress were to pass H.R. 21, the president would veto it. He will not allow the American people to suffer because of the backward agenda that House Republicans are advancing,” Granholm told reporters during a White House press briefing.
House Republicans, led by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), introduced the legislation, known as the Strategic Production Response Act or HR21, earlier this month.
The bill would require the Biden administration to develop a plan to boost the percentage of federal lands leased for oil and gas production if it wants to release oil from the SPR.
It includes an exception in the case of “severe energy supply” interruptions.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the Biden administration, which has consistently blamed soaring energy prices on “Putin’s price hike” while not backing policies to support greater domestic oil production, announced a 30-million-barrel release and another 180-million-barrel release in March 2022.
SPR levels have fallen to just over 400 million barrels under Biden, down about 40 percent from its usual reserve levels and the lowest since 1984.