President Joe Biden on Wednesday defended his use of U.S. oil reserves from criticism that’s it’s spurred by next month’s midterm elections, as his administration rolled out plans to release 15 million barrels of oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
“It’s not politically motivated at all,” Biden said, as he took questions from reporters at the White House.
The president also appeared to refer to how releases from the SPR have been going on for some time, as he said: “Where have they been the last four months?”
The latest release completes the historic drawdown of 180 million barrels that Biden announced in March and that began in May, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine spurred rises in fuel prices. It comes as the White House aims to respond to a production cut by OPEC+ and lower gasoline prices
ahead of the midterm elections.
Republicans have blasted Biden’s approach with the SPR, as they seek to take control of the U.S. House and Senate in the midterms.
“The Strategic Petroleum Reserve is for times of CRISIS, not for Pres. Biden’s political ploy to deflate gas prices before November,” said GOP Rep. Michael Burgess of Texas in a tweet. “This is just plain irresponsible. The American people can see right through it.”
Biden administration officials said Tuesday that the president would announce the release of 15 million barrels on Wednesday, as well as say that more oil
sales would be possible this winter.
Now read: Why you can’t count on another SPR oil release to cut gasoline prices at the pump
And see: As Biden fights inflation, economists warn his weapons for this battle look ‘extremely limited’