President Joe Biden’s controversial attempt to lower gas prices at the expense of American strategic readiness ahead of the 2022 midterm elections has left critics up in arms.
Biden is tired of hearing about it, and snapped at a reporter when he was questioned about releasing another 15 million oil barrels from the Strategic Oil Reserve, bringing the total drained to over 200 million barrels in the last year.
“What is your response to Republicans who say you are only doing this SPR … to help Democrats in the midterms?” a reporter asked Wednesday during the announcement that he was
“Where have they been in the last four months?” Biden shot back. “That’s my response.”
“Is it politically motivated, sir? Three weeks before the midterms?” another reporter asked.
Biden lost his cool.
“No, it’s not!” Biden shot back. “Look, it makes sense because I’ve been doing this for how long now? It’s not politically motivated at all.”
“It’s motivated to make sure that I continue to push on what I’ve been pushing on, and that is making sure there’s enough oil that’s been pumped by the companies so that we have the ability to be able to produce enough gas that we need here at home. Oil we need here at home,” he claimed. “At the same time, keep moving in the direction of providing for alternative energy.”
“That’s what I’ve been doing. Now, the problem is these guys are asleep,” Biden said. “I don’t know where they’ve been. And they seem — you know, the price at the pump should reflect what the price of a barrel of oil cost, and it’s not going down consistently.”
BIDEN: Releasing more oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is "not politically motivated at all!" pic.twitter.com/7idfP5NCSM
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) October 19, 2022
High gasoline prices are the problem that Biden keeps trying to fix — and roughly a year’s worth of releasing oil from the strategic oil reserve has done little to significantly lower costs.
Critics say Biden hasn’t done enough.
Biden just now said he's been "doing everything in my power to reduce gas prices," but that's false. He
– slashed acreage for oil/gas production
– killed the re-opening of a major oil refinery
– repressed private investment in oil/gas production by flooding market with SPR oil pic.twitter.com/w6zNyq6SUp
— Michael Shellenberger (@ShellenbergerMD) October 19, 2022
Despite rejecting the notion that politics played a role in his latest action, Biden is certainly aware that the issue has clear political implications as the president’s approval rating has moved inversely with changes in gasoline prices, which remain sky high.
“They’re not falling fast enough,” Biden said in remarks at the White House. “Families are hurting. You’ve heard me say it before, but I get it.”
Biden’s announcement comes as a gallon of gas still averages $3.85, up from a year ago when Biden called $3.35 a gallon a strain on families and from roughly $2.40 a gallon during his 2021 inaugural.
Wednesday’s announcement completes the release of 180 million barrels authorized by Biden in March that was initially supposed to occur over six months. Biden also ordered the release of 50 million barrels in November 2021.
The withdrawals have sent the nation’s strategic reserve to its lowest level since 1984 in what the administration called a “bridge” until domestic production could be increased. The reserve now contains roughly 400 million barrels of oil, a level that opponents say has more to do with Biden’s attempts to help his fellow Democrats than spur more oil production in the U.S.
During Tuesday night’s Florida Senate debate between Republican Sen. Marco Rubio and Democratic U.S. Rep. Val Demings, Rubio complained that the U.S. is “begging” other countries for oil and depleting its own reserves to help Democratic candidates.
“Our oil reserves do not exist to win midterms,” Rubio said. “They exist to help this country in an emergency or in the midst of a storm.”
Biden said the U.S. government will restock the strategic reserve when oil prices are at or lower than $67 to $72 a barrel.
Democrats blocked former President Donald Trump for attempting to restock the reserve when oil prices were $24 per barrel in 2020.
Donald Trump wanted to fill the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in March of 2020 when oil was $24 a barrel.
Schumer called it a big oil bailout.
Biden will now pay about TRIPLE to fill the reserves after draining them to keep gas prices artificially ‘low’ for votes. pic.twitter.com/9weJMZyc3i
— Brianna Lyman (@briannalyman2) October 19, 2022
The Associated Press contributed to this article