Lawmakers announce legislation to fund government purchases of oil

Lawmakers announce legislation to fund government purchases of oil
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A group of lawmakers announced Tuesday that they are introducing legislation that aims to fund a government purchase of oil, boosting an industry that has been hit by reduced demand and international disputes. 

The legislation would give the Energy Department $3 billion with which to purchase oil to be stored in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), a move that the Trump administration has also pushed for. 

It is being introduced in the Senate by Sen. John HoevenJohn Henry HoevenThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - US gymnast wins all-around gold as Simone Biles cheers from the stands The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - A huge win for Biden, centrist senators Senate votes to take up infrastructure deal MORE (R-N.D.) and in the House by Reps. Lizzie Fletcher (D-Texas) and Michael BurgessMichael Clifton BurgessOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Supreme Court rules that pipeline can seize land from New Jersey | Study: EPA underestimated methane emissions from oil and gas development | Kevin McCarthy sets up task forces on climate, other issues Texas Republicans condemn state Democrats for response to official calling Scott an 'Oreo' Americans have decided to give professionals a chance MORE (R-Texas). 

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The bill has the backing of Republican Sens. John CornynJohn CornynBiden's bipartisan deal faces Senate gauntlet Senate votes to take up infrastructure deal Biden officials pledge to confront cybersecurity challenges head-on MORE (Texas), Kevin CramerKevin John CramerBiden's bipartisan deal faces Senate gauntlet Trump takes two punches from GOP The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - US gymnast wins all-around gold as Simone Biles cheers from the stands MORE (N.D.), Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzBiden's bipartisan deal faces Senate gauntlet 228 Republican lawmakers urge Supreme Court to overrule Roe v. Wade GOP, Democrats battle over masks in House, Senate MORE (Texas), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiBill would honor Ginsburg, O'Connor with statues at Capitol The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - US gymnast wins all-around gold as Simone Biles cheers from the stands The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - A huge win for Biden, centrist senators MORE (Alaska) and Dan SullivanDaniel Scott SullivanSenate confirms Biden pick for No. 2 role at Interior Concerns grow over China's Taiwan plans China conducts amphibious landing drill near Taiwan after senators' visit MORE (Alaska), as well as Reps. Kelly Armstrong (R-N.D.) and Henry Cuellar (D-Texas). 

“Purchasing U.S. oil for the SPR will not only benefit our energy producers, but also taxpayers and our national security. This legislation, along with our efforts to stop the global price war, are part of our work to support our domestic energy producers and provide stability to global energy markets,” Hoeven said in a statement. 

It comes after Congress declined to provide funding in the third coronavirus stimulus package for the purchase of 30 million barrels of oil. The Energy Department at the time withdrew a solicitation to purchase the oil and has since said it will rent space in the SPR to oil producers

There have also been some calls to include funding for an SPR purchase in the next coronavirus stimulus package. 

“Unfortunately, these funds were held hostage during Phase Three negotiations,” Cramer said in a statement. “Congress should play its part and include this funding in Phase Four.”

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Even though the legislation is supported by some House Democrats, it would likely face an uphill battle in the lower chamber. 

Democrats and environmentalists have repeatedly condemned the possibility of a government purchase of oil as a bailout for an industry that contributes to climate change. 

President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump PACs brought in over M for the first half of 2021 Chicago owes Trump M tax refund, state's attorney mounts legal challenge Biden hits resistance from unions on vaccine requirement MORE, meanwhile, has endorsed an SPR purchase, saying he wants to “fill it right up to the top.”

As the market is flooded amid a production standoff involving Saudi Arabia and Russia and decreasing demand linked to the coronavirus, Trump has also floated other actions including tariffs on oil imports and decreasing domestic production.