Bipartisan Senate group pushes ban on oil reserve sales to China

"This bill would ensure that we are not risking our energy security by selling our petroleum reserves to China," Manchin said of the plan.

Updated: February 1, 2023 - 4:22pm

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A bipartisan group of Senators are pushing legislation to ban the sale of oil from the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve to China.

Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin introduced the measure on Wednesday, per The Hill. The House of Representatives approved similar legislation last week.

The Senate plan would bar companies either owned or controlled by the Chinese Communist Party from purchasing oil from the SPR unless they sell the fuel in a market other than China.

Sens. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., John Hoeven, R-N.D., John Boozman, R-Ark., Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, John Cornyn, R-Texas, Jerry Moran, R-Kansas, Roger Marshall, R-Kansas, Rick Scott, R-Fla.,  Mike Lee, R-Utah, Kyrsten Sinema, I-Ariz., Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., Angus King, I-Maine, Michael Bennet, D-Colo., Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, and Mike Braun, R-Indiana, have endorsed the plan, the outlet reported.

"This bill would ensure that we are not risking our energy security by selling our petroleum reserves to China, and the bipartisan support this legislation has received shows just how important it is for America to be energy secure and independent," Manchin said of the plan.

President Joe Biden regularly sold oil from the SPR last year in a bid to stabilize energy prices amid turbulence caused by economic downturn, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and OPEC+ production cuts.

The move attracted considerable scrutiny from Republicans, who accused him of buying political points for the midterm elections and jeopardizing national security in the process.