President Joe Biden will veto legislation that would limit his ability to draw from the US' Strategic Petroleum Reserve should it reach his desk, the White House said on Monday.
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The legislation was introduced in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, and referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce on Jan. 9. If enacted, it would prohibit the president from tapping the reserves unless additional oil and gas drilling leases are approved.
White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said the bill is part of wider Republican "extreme policies" that would "subject working families to immense financial pain and balloon our deficit all just to benefit the wealthiest taxpayers and big corporations."
It would further imperil US energy security, resulting in energy shortages and would "help Putin's war aims by interfering with our ability to release oil," she added, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Ukraine war, now almost in its 12th month.
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm echoed the warning, saying the legislation would impede powers needed by a president to respond to dire emergencies.
"I don't care whether it's a Democratic president or a Republican president, why would you hamper the ability of the country to be able to respond to emergencies and hamper the ability of us to be able to lower costs as a result of those emergencies?" she asked.
"I think the Senate understands the importance of that and hopefully will act accordingly."
Should the legislation clear the House, it would have to be approved in the Democratic-controlled Senate, which is unlikely.
Granholm further maintained that she believes Biden will be able to replenish the Strategic Petroleum Reserve after he drew on it to tamp down on gas prices that soared after the start of the Ukraine war last February.
"I have no concerns that we will be able to refill and replenish the SPR and do it at a savings to taxpayers," she said. ■
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