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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 HoevenMcConnell about to school Trump on political power for the last time Senate GOP opposition grows to objecting to Electoral College results Man charged with criminal mischief for allegedly vandalizing senator's office with ax MORE (R-N.D.) and in the House by Reps. Lizzie Fletcher (D-Texas) and Michael BurgessMichael Clifton BurgessREAD: The Republicans who voted to challenge election results OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Westerman tapped as top Republican on House Natural Resources Committee | McMorris Rodgers wins race for top GOP spot on Energy and Commerce | EPA joins conservative social network Parler McMorris Rodgers wins race for top GOP spot on Energy and Commerce MORE (R-Texas). 

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The bill has the backing of Republican Sens. John CornynJohn CornynHarris to resign from Senate seat on Monday Cruz, Cornyn to attend Biden inauguration McConnell about to school Trump on political power for the last time MORE (Texas), Kevin CramerKevin John CramerImpeachment trial tests Trump's grip on Senate GOP McConnell about to school Trump on political power for the last time Regulator finalizes rule forcing banks to serve oil, gun companies MORE (N.D.), Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzTrump allies, Washington insiders helped plan rallies before Capitol breach: reports What Martin Luther King, at 39, taught me at 35 GOP senators wrestle with purging Trump from party MORE (Texas), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiBiden's minimum wage push faces uphill battle with GOP GOP senators wrestle with purging Trump from party Democratic lawmaker says 'assassination party' hunted for Pelosi during riot MORE (Alaska) and Dan SullivanDaniel Scott SullivanMcConnell about to school Trump on political power for the last time Senate poised to override Trump's defense bill veto OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump administration proceeds with rollback of bird protections despite objections | Trump banking proposal on fossil fuels sparks backlash from libertarians | EU 2019 greenhouse gas emissions down 24 percent 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 TrumpGiuliani used provisional ballot to vote in 2020 election, same method he disparaged in fighting to overturn results Trump gets lowest job approval rating in final days as president Fox News' DC managing editor Bill Sammon to retire 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.