On Tuesday, the Biden administration announced plans to release 50 million barrels of oil from the country’s Strategic Oil Reserve.
What Happened: President Biden announced a plan to release 50 million barrels of oil as a way to help curb rising costs at the gas pump.
As part of the plan, 32 million barrels will be returned to the Strategic Reserve once oil costs decrease. According to The Hill, another 18 million barrels will be released as an acceleration of an oil sale Congress had already authorized.
China, India, Japan, South Korea, and the United Kingdom, which will also tap into their own strategic reserves.
Context: President Biden’s choice to tap into the Strategic Reserve comes as the country continues to experience record inflation and more Americans are becoming frustrated by the climbing numbers at the gas pump.
Earlier in November, The Labor Department released statistics that revealed inflation hit a 30-year high.
The consumer price index, which tracks inflation for a range of staple goods and services, rose 0.9 percent last month and 6.2 percent in the 12-month period ending in October. The rise in prices was driven largely by a 4.8 percent increase in energy costs for the month, including a 1.6 percent increase in gasoline prices. (per The Hill)
President Biden then accused oil companies of illegally raising prices.
What Republicans Say: Republican lawmakers have blasted President Biden’s poor policy decisions which have now forced him to tap into the reserves.
“Begging OPEC and Russia to increase production and now using the Strategic Petroleum Reserve are desperate attempts to address a Biden-caused disaster,” Republican Sen. John Barrasso said. “They’re not substitutes for American energy production.”
In a statement from his Save America PAC, Donald Trump also blasted President Biden’s decision.
“For decades our Country’s very important Strategic Oil Reserves were low or virtually empty in that no President wanted to pay the price of filling them up. I filled them up three years ago, right to the top, when oil prices were very low. Those reserves are meant to be used for serious emergencies, like war, and nothing else. Now I understand that Joe Biden will be announcing an “attack” on the newly brimming Strategic Oil Reserves so that he could get the close to record-setting high oil prices artificially lowered. We were energy independent one year ago, now we are at the mercy of OPEC, gasoline is selling for $7 in parts of California, going up all over the Country, and they are taking oil from our Strategic Reserves. Is this any way to run a Country?”