Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas., introduced a bill Wednesday that would stop the Biden administration from selling oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to China and Chinese Communist Party (CCP)-owned companies.
Cruz's bill, the Protecting America’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve from China Act, was cosponsored by over a dozen Senate Republicans and closely mirrors the bill passed by the House this month. The House bill passed in an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 331-97, with 113 House Democrats voting in favor.
The easy House vote means the bill has a chance in the Senate if Democratic leaders agree to take it up.
"The Strategic Petroleum Reserve was intended to ensure that America had sufficient oil reserves in the event of an emergency," Cruz said in a statement.
"Instead, Joe Biden sold a portion of this critical national security asset to the Chinese Communist Party when the CCP was stockpiling oil for its own strategic use, and while Americans are paying higher and higher prices for fuel because of the Biden administration’s disastrous energy policies," Cruz said.
"We need to immediately act to stop this from happening in the future and unleash American energy," he said.
Biden first ordered the Department of Energy to tap into the SPR in November 2021, saying it was a "major effort to moderate the price of oil" and lower prices at the average "corner gas station." After Russia invaded Ukraine last year, Biden announced a 30-million-barrel release and another 180-million-barrel release in March 2022.
As a result of the administration’s action, the SPR is at its lowest level since 1986 and Chinese-controlled companies have successfully purchased at auction two million barrels, despite having one of the world’s largest stockpiles of oil.
Cruz's bill would ban the sale of American crude oil from the SPR to any company under the control of the CCP, and prohibit the export of any crude oil from the SPR to China.
Sens. Roger Marshall, R-Kan.; Kevin Cramer, R-N.D.; Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska; Joni Ernst, R-Iowa; Jerry Moran, R-Kan.; John Boozman, R-Ark.; Mike Braun, R-Ind.; Rick Scott, R-Fla.; Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss.; Tom Cotton, R-Ark.; Roger Wicker, R-Miss.; Tim Scott, R-S.C.; Josh Hawley, R-Mo.; John Cornyn, R-Texas; and Deb Fischer, R-Neb., cosponsored the bill.