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Sens. Cruz, Hoeven & Reps. Fletcher, Burgess to Introduce Legislation Providing $3 Billion in Funding to Fill Strategic Petroleum Reserve With U.S. Crude Oil

April 7, 2020

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202-228-7561

HOUSTON, Texas - U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and John Hoeven (R-N.D.), along with Reps. Lizzie Fletcher (D-Texas) and Michael Burgess (R-Texas), and House and Senate colleagues today announced they are introducing bipartisan, bicameral legislation to provide $3 billion in funding to purchase crude oil produced in the United States for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). The legislation aligns with the request made by President Trump and Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette to fill the SPR. Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), and Reps. Kelly Armstrong (R-N.D.) and Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) are original cosponsors.

"For years the federal government has taken the backwards approach of buying oil when it's expensive and selling it off from the strategic petroleum reserve when it's cheap," Sen. Cruz said. "Now, with low oil prices, we actually have an opportunity to do the opposite, get more for our dollar, and replenish our strategic petroleum reserve. That's a win for America's taxpayers and workers, as well as for our nation's energy security. This commonsense proposal should have already been signed into law with the emergency relief bill we delivered last month, but it was blocked by Democratic leadership in the House and Senate at the last minute. I look forward to righting the ship and introducing the bill with Sen. Hoeven and my colleagues as soon as the Senate returns."

"Oil and gas producers in North Dakota and across the U.S. are vital for both our economic and national security," Sen. Hoeven said. "This legislation provides important support to our domestic energy industry at a time when they are not only challenged by the impacts of the coronavirus but also a global oil price war. 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."

"Domestic production of oil and natural gas is essential to our national security, our economy, and our energy future, including our ability to drive innovation and production of cleaner energy," Rep. Fletcher said. "Our energy producers are facing an unprecedented challenge that will have long-term ramifications for our energy independence and our energy future. I am glad to join Senator Hoeven and Congressman Burgess to announce bipartisan legislation that provides relief for the many Americans who work to provide the energy we need today."

"The Strategic Petroleum Reserve is a critical asset to ensure America's energy security, and President Trump is right to request the SPR be filled while prices are low," Rep. Burgess said. "This legislation provides support to American energy producers during this public health crisis, ensuring that made-in-America energy remains a strength for our country. Over the last decade America has emerged as a global leader in energy production. It is critical that this leadership is preserved and measures are put in place to ensure America's influence on energy markets. Through timely and prudent purchases by the Department of Energy, the United States will be able to improve its energy resilience, temporarily stabilize energy markets, and save taxpayers money over the long run."

"Without swift action, the coronavirus could have a devastating impact on Texas' energy producers and their workforce," Sen. Cornyn said. "This legislation would help support small to midsize producers and Texas workers while enhancing national security during this uncertain time."

"Funding Strategic Petroleum Reserve purchases is a small, simple way to purchase oil from local producers as we work to combat COVID-19 and put an end to the harmful oil dispute between Saudi Arabia and Russia," Sen. Cramer said. "Unfortunately, these funds were held hostage during Phase Three negotiations. While I support Secretary Brouillette finding administrative ways to make SPR purchases, Congress should play its part and include this funding in Phase Four."

"The oil and gas industry is critical to our nation's economy and supports more than 10 million jobs. With plummeting global demand wrought by the coronavirus pandemic and supply rising as a result of the Saudi-Russian price war, prices have fallen to their lowest levels in nearly 20 years," Sen. Murkowski said. "We can provide some assistance to the industry by refilling the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to capacity, and we should take advantage of this opportunity to buy low and buy American."

"With the unprecedented challenges we are facing as a country, from the oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia to the demand-drop in oil due to our efforts to combat COVID-19, we must act swiftly to support America's workers to ensure we can get the economy roaring again when we overcome this pandemic," Sen. Sullivan said. "Funding purchases of oil produced in America for the SPR is one way we can fight back and support the hard-working men and women of our energy sector as we weather this storm."

"Foreign manipulation of oil prices and the economic effects of COVID-19 are threatening America's energy independence," Rep. Armstrong said. "The U.S. energy industry strengthens our national security and is a major economic driver, employing millions of workers directly and indirectly. The purchase of oil for the nation's strategic reserves will help domestic producers withstand these forces outside their control and protect our energy security."

"The COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented economic crisis, greatly impacting the energy sector in Texas and across the nation," Rep. Cuellar said. "During these challenging times, we must invest in both renewable energy as well as preserve the record economic gains in the oil and gas industry the United States has obtained in recent years. For this reason, I am co-sponsoring this legislation so we can fund and replenish the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in order to protect the global market from a supply disruption. We must defend the energy sector and take care of the millions of American working families who rely on it. Replenishing the SPR will not only strengthen our economic well-being, but also our national security."

Read the text of the bill here. For COVID-19 information and additional resources, visit www.cruz.senate.gov/coronavirus/.

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