So anyway, for months last summer, the GOP and their gutter press was consumed by the conspiracy theory that President Biden directed this sale specifically to help his son. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) for example, who tweeted: “Pres Biden reportedly sold oil fr[om] American reserves to China’s Sinopec which Hunter Biden may still b[e] tied to via his financial ventures in China. If report correct that’s OUTRAGEOUS.”
It is, of course, not true. The president and the Department of Energy don’t determine who gets the contract from SPR sales or what happens to that crude—it can lawfully be exported. “[T]he SPR cannot dictate whether or not companies export crude oil received from the reserve,” the Energy Department’s press secretary, Charisma Troiano, explained at the time. “U.S. companies are permitted to place bids on SPR crude oil; DOE cannot dictate what selected bidders will do with the SPR crude oil after delivery.”
Also: “Data collected by the Department of Energy shows the Trump administration sold half a million barrels of oil from the U.S. strategic reserves to PetroChina in Trump’s first year in office.”
So anyway, that’s what the House is doing today. Nothing to help lower energy costs, but taking another pot shot at the Biden family. Then they’ll leave until Jan. 24.
The Senate remains out until then, but does see some action today. Pete Ricketts, a former Republican governor for Nebraska, has been appointed by his successor and current Gov. Jim Pillen (R) to fill out the remainder of Sen. Ben Sasse’s term. He resigned to go be president of the University Florida. Sasse would have had until 2026 in the seat, but Nebraska law dictates that the appointment can only run tunnel the next statewide election, which will be 2024.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had been pressing for a Ricketts appointment since Sasse made his intentions to leave clear last fall. The intention of everybody is for Ricketts to run for the seat in both 2024 and then again in 2026. Pillen said in announcing the appointment, “Placeholders don’t have any accountability to the people.”
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