Congressman Bruce Westerman's Weekly Column

This week, President Joe Biden announced he is releasing 15 million additional barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) in an attempt to artificially lower gas prices in time for the midterm elections. The SPR, which is meant for emergencies, has now been emptied by 40% by President Biden, leaving us vulnerable to a natural disaster or national security emergency.


This year, on my annual agriculture tour, I travelled across my district to speak to farmers, ranchers, and producers about the challenges they are facing in the industry. I heard again and again that rising costs, specifically energy prices, are crushing their businesses by driving up input costs they can’t recover unless the costs are passed along to processing facilities and eventually to the consumer. Folks are feeling the pain at the grocery store now more than ever as food, our most basic necessity, bears the weight of record inflation. The price of eggs is up 30.5%, flour is up 24.2%, and chicken is up 17.2%. 


People are begging President Biden to take swift, long-term action like reopening pipelines and issuing leases and permits for domestic energy production, yet the best he can offer is depleting our oil reserves, blaming American industries for the problems he created, and going to rouge nations asking them to bail us out. This week, President Biden said in a speech, “My message to the American energy companies is this: You should not be using your profits to buy back stock or for dividends. Not now. Not while a war is raging.  You should be using these record-breaking profits to increase production and refining. Invest in America.” 


It is outrageous to assert that oil companies are causing these record high oil prices. President Biden either does not understand the basic economics of supply and demand, or he is deliberately lying in order to shift blame away from himself. American oil companies don’t control the price of gas any more than Riceland Foods controls the price of Rice Krispies. Oil is a global commodity, and the price fluctuates according to the market.


If President Biden was serious about lowering gas prices and inflation across the board, he would work with Republicans on solutions to increase U.S. energy production, instead of risking our national security by emptying our strategic reserves in favor of a political bailout. Biden hasn't even offered a plan to maintain the status quo, much less allow more energy production to meet an ever-increasing demand. Clearly, this administration and their liberal enablers in Congress would rather keep their heads in the sand than give Americans the energy solutions we desperately need. Republicans’ Commitment to America includes commonsense solutions that would tap American energy and allow our industries to thrive, not punish and regulate them into oblivion. If Republicans take back the majority in Congress, we will hold the Biden Administration accountable for its disastrous policies and work to pass bills like my “TAP American Energy Act” to take back control of our energy supply.


10-21-22 9:11 AM KAWX.ORG