Tie House GOP energy production agenda to debt limit, budget negotiations, urges Montana lawmaker

Rep. Matt Rosendale seeks leverage to aid Senate prospects for House-passed bills banning Chinese oil purchases from strategic reserve and requiring agency plans to boost oil, gas production on federal lands.
An attendant pumps gas in Somers Point, N.J., Aug. 2020

Montana Republican Rep. Matt Rosendale told Just the News that an effort is underway to connect legislation the GOP-led House passed dealing with the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to a legislative package that raises the debt limit.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is locked in negotiations with the White House over a deal that increases the debt limit. He's pushing for spending reductions in exchange for the GOP-led House voting to raise the debt ceiling.

Last month, the House passed the Strategic Production Response Act to "provide for the development of a plan to increase oil and gas production under oil and gas leases of Federal lands under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of Energy, the Secretary of the Interior, and the Secretary of Defense in conjunction with a drawdown of petroleum reserves from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve."

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said President Biden would veto the bill. The bill "would impose unnecessary, unhelpful restrictions on when the SPR can be used to help provide supply," she said at a White House press briefing. "It would require these arbitrary reports regarding energy production on federal lands before waiving any new restrictions. It would not offer any tangible benefits to the American people. Instead, it would interfere with our ability to be responsive to release oil during an international emergency, helping Putin's war aims."

The House also passed the Protecting America's Strategic Petroleum Reserve from China Act with bipartisan support.

Both pieces of legislation are tied up in the Senate.

"Now it's going to be up to the Republican Conference in the House, and the speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy," Rosendale said, "to take those exact agenda items and tie them directly to the debt ceiling and to the budget process as we move forward in August and September, and say that these are integral parts of both of those so that we can use some of that leverage to get that agenda put forward."

Rosendale was asked if he thinks Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and the rest of the Senate GOP leadership will be in favor of linking those bills dealing with oil production to the debt limit.

"I would certainly hope he is," he said. "We can see that it's in the best interest of the people across this country." 

GOP Rep. Randy Weber of Texas said the White House should support the Strategic Production Response Act to increase domestic oil production, given the high price consumers are paying for gasoline. The Strategic Petroleum Reserve runs into Weber's district. 

"This president," he said, "should come to Texas, not Saudi Arabia, not Venezuela, not foreign countries, and say, 'Please give us more oil.' They ought to be coming to Texas and doing this."