President Joe Biden is drawing criticism from lawmakers after the White House made negative comments about a bipartisan effort to curb the flow of U.S. oil to China.

The House of Representatives approved a measure on Jan. 12 that would block exports from the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to China and prohibit the sale of oil for the SBR “under the ownership, control, or influence of the Chinese Communist Party.” The vote received widespread bipartisan support, passing by a margin of 331–97.

In response, White House spokesperson Andrew Bates told Yahoo News that the measure was “backwards,” and characterized it as a Republican attempt to raise gas prices in order to make Biden look bad.

Rep. Gary Palmer (R-Ala.) said that the incident demonstrated the administration’s lack of understanding of economics and the necessity of maintaining the nation’s strategic reserves, which are intended to assist the nation in times of crisis.

“It’s another example of how little he knows about economics and market principles,” Palmer said during an interview with “Capitol Report” on NTD, a sister media outlet of The Epoch Times.

“When you’re sending your crude oil to another country where it’s going to be refined and consumed there and it’s not coming back here, it reduces the market supply, which increases price.”

Helping China, Russia

Palmer is one of a growing number of lawmakers who are expressing discontent with the Biden administration for what they describe as its indiscretion in raiding the strategic reserves and selling them to corporations like China’s state-owned Unipec, which maintains close ties with China’s communist regime.

“The administration has made every effort to undermine, avoid, and restrict oil and gas production in North America while at the same time moving to drain our strategic reserves in an attempt to offset the price increases caused by the president’s own policies,” said Rep. Robert Latta (R-Ohio) shortly after the passage of H.R. 22, the bill to block such sales.

Similarly, Palmer said the Biden administration’s policies had effectively weakened the United States and strengthened its adversaries.

By depleting the nation’s oil reserves to their lowest level since the 1980s and making the nation more dependent on processing from China and exports from Russia, he said, the administration was contributing to those regime’s malign activities.

“[Biden] stopped construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would have brought in over 800,000 barrels of crude oil per day from Canada,” Palmer said. “And instead, we were buying 600,000 barrels a day from Russia. We were literally providing the revenues to Russia to fund this illegal war that they’re carrying out in Ukraine.”

“This is one of the reasons why the war in Ukraine is so problematic. I’ve told people it didn’t create the energy crisis, it exposed it.”

To that end, Palmer said that the administration ought to immediately halt the sale of strategic reserves to China and keep them in the American market where, if they needed to be sold, would keep prices down by keeping local supplies high.

Palmer noted that the oil shale in the Green River Formation of the Rocky Mountains held what amounted to three trillion barrels of crude oil, half of which might be extracted by the United States if it so desired.

As such, Palmer said, the administration could do better managing the reserves and its place as an energy giant, which he considered to be a national security issue for both the United States and its allies.

“People need to understand that our energy resources are enormous,” Palmer said. “We are an energy superpower.”

“These energy resources are not only an economic security issue for us, they’re a national security issue for us. Our allies, and our friends around the globe depend on U.S. energy resources.”

Nowhere was this more apparent, Palmer added, than in the advantage being given to China’s communist regime by the sales of U.S. strategic reserves. Sales that Palmer said could assist the regime in displacing the United States as the world’s leading superpower.

“China is not vying to just be an economic superpower,” Palmer said. “They want to be the power.”

The Epoch Times has reached out to the White House for comment.

Andrew Thornebrooke is a reporter for The Epoch Times covering China-related issues with a focus on defense, military affairs, and national security. He holds a master’s in military history from Norwich University.

Steve Lance

Steve Lance is the host of Capitol Report, a political news show based in Washington aimed at providing a direct channel to the voices and people who shape policy in America. Capitol Report features all of the political news of the day with expert interviews and analysis.

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