House GOP probing ‘secret’ US-Saudi oil deal
Republicans on the House Oversight and Reform Committee are investigating a “secret” deal forged between the Biden administration and Saudi Arabia to boost production from the oil-producing alliance OPEC+, a deal that was never realized and upset the White House over the failure.
Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), a ranking member on the committee, sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday requesting information about the deal, which was supposed to boost oil production just ahead of the midterm elections.
“This Committee has a responsibility to uncover the facts surrounding any backdoor deals cut by President Biden or his emissaries. The President is choosing foreign sources over domestic source—all for political purposes,” he wrote. “If his Administration is engaging in backdoor market manipulations with adversarial nations while jeopardizing our national security for the sake of securing more favorable election conditions for Democrats, the American people have a right to know.”
Comer cited an October story from The New York Times on how White House officials secured an agreement with Saudi Arabia through private channels over the spring to boost oil production among OPEC+ members.
When Biden traveled to Saudi Arabia in July to meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, he believed the deal was already sealed, according to the Times.
Biden’s trip to Saudi Arabia amid soaring gas prices in the U.S. was heavily criticized.
Saudi Arabia has been accused of a number of human rights abuses, including accusations that the crown prince personally ordered the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018. During the visit, Biden was seen fist-bumping with Mohammed in a well-circulated photo.
Despite the discussions and Biden’s July visit, OPEC ultimately rebuffed the Biden administration when it slashed oil production by 2 million barrels in October.
OPEC+, which includes Russia, agreed on Sunday to remain with that same output target.
In his letter, Comer said the allegations of a secret, failed deal “raises further questions regarding the Administration’s motives related to domestic energy suppression, covert market manipulation disguised as diplomacy, and lack of transparency leading up to the November elections.”