House Democrats Block Legislative Amendment to Prevent US Oil Sales to China

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House Democrats have blocked a Republican effort to prevent the Biden administration from selling oil from the United States’ strategic reserve to entities with ties to the Chinese Communist Party.

Rep. David Valadao (R-Calif.) offered an amendment as a motion during a House floor debate on July 20, to recommit a legislative spending package (H.R.8294) consisting of six House appropriation bills for the fiscal year 2023. A “motion to recommit” is a common procedural maneuver that allows the House minority party to amend a bill before a final vote for passage.

The amendment was proposed by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. According to her proposal (pdf), petroleum would be banned from export to China and to any entity that does not certify that it is “not under the ownership, control, or influence of the Chinese Communist Party.”

Before the motion was put to a vote, Valadao told his colleagues on the House floor that supporting the amendment was “common sense.”

“We need to focus on increasing energy production and not supporting our adversaries while Americans are still suffering from outrageously high fuel prices here at home,” Valadao explained.

Despite Valadao’s plea for support, his motion was rejected following a 219–206 vote, when House Democrats unanimously voted against it. Every House Republican voted in favor of the measure except five who didn’t cast a vote.

“Every single Democrat just voted to put China’s national security over our own,” Valadao wrote on Twitter following the result.

Rodgers also took to Twitter to criticize House Democrats, saying that “they’re sacrificing America’s energy security and national security.”

Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.), who voted in favor of the motion, also expressed concerns about what the result would mean for U.S. national security.

“Under no circumstances should we be sending America’s strategic oil reserves to China. It is a threat to our energy and national security,” Walberg wrote on Twitter. “Shameful that House Democrats blocked our amendment to prevent this reckless policy from the Biden administration.”

By Frank Fang

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