Nearly a dozen Congressional Democrats are urging President Joe Biden to combat high gas prices by not only releasing barrels from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve but by banning US oil exports, according to a letter viewed by CNN.
The letter sent Monday to Biden adds to the pressure the White House is facing even from its own party to lower prices at the pump that are angering Americans and contributing to the biggest inflation spike in decades.
Calling the matter an “urgent issue,” House Democrats led by California Rep. Ro Khanna called for Biden to ensure “affordable and reliable energy for American families.”
“We must use all tools at our disposal to bring down gasoline prices in the short term,” reads the letter, which was also signed by eight other Democrats, including Reps. Barbara Lee, Katie Porter, Darren Soto and others. Senate Democrats sent Biden a similar letter earlier this month.
Biden hopes to announce his decision to release oil from the SPR in an economic speech on Tuesday, officials told CNN. However, the timing of such a move is contingent on the other nations finalizing their agreements to do the same, officials said.
The specter of the United States, and potentially other nations, releasing emergency barrels has already helped to lower oil prices. After topping $85 a barrel in late October, US oil prices have declined about 10%. That in turn has helped put a lid on surging gasoline prices. The national average is $3.41 a gallon, roughly flat with a week ago, according to AAA.