WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (MD) released the following statement tonight after the House passed the Strategic Petroleum Reserve Fill Suspension and Consumer Protection Act (H.R. 6022) by a veto-proof margin of 385 to 25. This bill will suspend deliveries to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve through the end of the year so long as the price of crude oil remains above $75 per barrel. The Senate passed a similar measure today by a vote of 97 to 1:
“It is absolutely inconceivable that, with gas prices climbing to $3.72 today, President Bush continues to oppose the bipartisan effort in Congress to give American consumers some relief from those high prices by temporarily suspending deliveries to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). What makes the President’s opposition to this common-sense, temporary move so outrageous is the fact that he supported deferring deliveries to the SPR just two years ago, even though our petroleum reserves are higher today than they were in 2006.
“Make no mistake, this legislation is not a panacea to the high gas prices affecting literally millions of American families, as well as businesses and our economy generally. However, experts agree that it could reduce gas prices by increasing our petroleum supply – and it is a critical step in the right direction.
“This important legislation complements the other legislative efforts taken by Congressional Democrats to provide short-term relief from record gas prices – including a successful request that the Federal Trade Commission investigate market manipulation, passage of legislation on price gouging, and passage of legislation to hold OPEC accountable for price fixing.
“I urge the President to reconsider his opposition to suspending deliveries to the SPR. The American people are being pinched by record gas prices and he should join us in this effort. Given his previous support for suspending such deliveries, his opposition today simply does not seem tenable.”