Having created their "drill more" catchphrase, dictating that the only solution is to continue beating our heads against the same wall that's already given us an economic and national security concussion, Republicans used a technical maneuver to defeat the release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Democrats had a plan to release 10% of the reserve's light sweet crude over a six month period, helping moderate prices on the market. Republicans moved quickly to protect their talking point, and got what they wanted -- higher prices.
Oil prices reversed course and moved higher Thursday in U.S. trading after a move in Congress to tap into the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve was defeated. ... At a press conference before the vote, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, pointed out that previous releases from the oil reserve had knocked down prices, sometimes significantly: 33 percent in 1991, 19 percent in 2000 and nine percent in 2005.
Is releasing oil from the strategic reserve a long term solution? No, but unlike anything the Republicans have suggested, it actually would help relieve prices at the pump today and give the market a chance to moderate. And there's a record amount of oil in the SPR, so a minor adjustment in the reserve's composition (the plan required that this oil be replaced by heavier crude) would represent no problem for US security.
Of course, selling that 10% would both reduce ExxonMobil's bottom line and damage the GOP talking point. And their leverage was already being eroded by the damage they've done to the economy, which was putting demand in doubt. That had to be stopped!
Republican plan from now until November? Continue talking about drilling that won't help prices so they can avoid talking about anything that will. Oil prices were edging down on more economic worries on Friday. That has to have them worried.