Senate Democrat calls on President Biden to release more oil from strategic reserves

On Friday, Sen. Mark Kelly, an Arizona Democrat, called on President Joe Biden to release oil from the national stockpile as he supported legislation to suspend the federal gas tax in 2022.

Kelly has been pushing to relieve gas prices that have risen since Russia invaded its neighboring country of Ukraine last week.

Kelly sent a letter to the president asking him to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which is a move Biden earlier this week already suggested that he would do.

“As Russia continues its unprovoked attack on Ukraine, the average price of crude oil could remain above $100 per barrel and push the price of regular unleaded even higher than it is now,” wrote Kelly in his letter. 

He continued, “Hardworking families cannot continue to bear the economic hardship of high gas prices while paying for more expensive groceries and medicine. Even before the crisis in Ukraine, Arizona families struggled with costs at the pump.”

Kelly additionally called on the president to support a bill Kelly sponsored, which is called the Gas Prices Relief Act. The act would suspend the $0.18 per gallon federal gas tax for the rest of the year. So far, the legislation has faced resistance from Republicans and even some Democrats as it remains stuck in Congress.

Russia is the third-largest producer of oil in the world, and the commodity increased in price following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But still, Kelly added that the U.S. is a world leader in natural gas production and should use that in order to hedge “Russian aggression.”

On Thursday, Biden said that he was coordinating with other oil producing nations and considering releasing reserves on his own. “I will do everything in my power to limit the pain that people are feeling at the gas pump,” the president said during a press conference. He still, though, has limited ability to raise or lower prices directly.




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