WASHINGTON, July 24 (Reuters) - House Republican Leader John Boehner on Thursday said legislation requiring the government to sell 70 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve will fail, and the White House also threatened to veto the measure.
“This bill is a joke,” Boehner, an Ohio Republican, said in dismissing the election-year measure designed to ease the concerns of edgy motorists and voters.
The legislation, sponsored by Democrats, would require the sale of 10 percent of the emergency stockpile, or 70 million barrels, on the open market over six months. Proceeds from the sales would be used to buy an equivalent amount of heavy crude, which is cheaper.
The vote on the bill is scheduled for Thursday afternoon.
Republican and Democratic lawmakers have been mostly deadlocked on energy policy proposals as oil prices have soared to record levels. Republicans have pushed alleviating high energy prices by increasing domestic production through lifting bans on drilling offshore and in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Democrats, however, have urged oil companies to drill on land already available under government leases to search for oil and tapping the SPR.
“This is not an energy bill,” said Boehner of the Democrats’ SPR legislation. “This is not going to produce any more American-made energy. It is not going to bring down the prices.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declined to predict whether the bill will pass.
“This is very important,” she said. “It’s the most significant initiative the administration can take or any of us can take to increase the supply of oil, bring down the price, have an immediate impact at the pump. And that’s why we’re doing that.”
Democrats plan to act quickly on the legislation by suspending the chamber’s rules for the vote on the bill, which means the bill will require the support of two-thirds of lawmakers in the House for it to pass and that no amendments can be added. (Additional reporting by Thomas Ferraro, editing by Matthew Lewis)
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.