Senior Republicans bash White House oil release as political move

But McCarthy and the top Republicans on two House committees — Natural Resources, and Energy and Commerce — took aim at White House policies that they say are locking up resources offshore and elsewhere.

“The Strategic Petroleum Reserve is intended for situations when there’s a dramatic supply shut down, not to achieve short-term political gain,” said Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) in a statement.

“However, this is a clear admission from the Obama administration that increasing domestic oil supplies will help lower costs. Unfortunately for the past two and a half years, the Obama administration has consistently blocked efforts to expand American energy production and actively placed moratoriums on domestic development,” he said.

Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) similarly said the reserve is meant for emergencies, not "political convenience."

“The bottom line is this — it’s hard to believe that the administration would rather tap into our emergency supply than support legislation to produce and develop North American supplies, which will create American jobs,” he said.

The House has passed a series of measures in recent weeks that would mandate faster action on offshore drilling permits and require the opening of vast new areas to drilling.

The White House has criticized the bills while touting its own steps to speed up U.S. production.