Then-Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer criticized former President Donald Trump for allegedly trying to bail out big oil after the president suggested filling up the Strategic Petroleum Reserve for a low cost during the pandemic.
Trump suggested filling up the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in March of 2020 to stabilize the oil industry after it took a massive hit during the onset of the pandemic. A barrel of oil was $24 at the time, and Republicans suggested spending $3 billion to fill the reserve.
“Based on the price of oil, I’ve also instructed the Secretary of Energy to purchase at a very good price, large quantities of crude oil for storage in the U.S. Strategic Reserve,” Trump said in March. “We’re gonna fill it right up to the top, saving the American taxpayers billions and billions of dollars, helping our oil industry and making us even further toward that wonderful goal, which we’ve achieved, which nobody thought was possible, of energy independence.”
“It puts us in a position that’s very strong and we’re buying it at the right price.”
Schumer alleged the move was a big oil bailout. (RELATED: ‘Playing With Fire’: Biden’s Energy Secretary Says Admin Considering Extending Oil Releases Past Election Day)
“President Trump is rushing to bail out big oil companies after their CEOs donated millions to the Trump campaign, while so many Main Street businesses are still waiting to get help. It’s outrageous that small businesses are fighting for limited funds, while the Trump administration is bending over backward to shower these oil companies with billions of taxpayer dollars,” Schumer said in a statement.
“For Republicans, there’s always enough money to bail out their corporate donors but not enough for helping working Americans and state and local governments.”
President Joe Biden’s Department of Energy is set to buy oil to refill the Strategic Petroleum Reserve for $67 to $72 per barrel, nearly three times what Trump proposed.
Biden authorized the release of 180 million barrels of oil in March to try and lower gas prices and the reserves are at their lowest level since 1984.