The campaign manager for Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan’s Senate bid denied the congressman voted on legislation barring oil from the nation’s strategic petroleum reserves be shipped to China. Ryan, however, voted with 218 of his Democrat colleagues to veto such a motion brought forward by California Republican Congressman David Valadao on Wednesday.
On Twitter, Rep. Ryan’s campaign chief, Dave Chase, responded to a post from rival GOP Senate candidate J.D. Vance’s press account which called out Ryan for the vote. Chase called the attack an example of Vance “being a fraud and running a terrible race.”
“The amendment below has never had a floor vote and the vote they’re pointing to was an effort to kill apropos funding that has nothing to do with the [Strategic Petroleum Reserve],” Chase wrote. “Just a straight up lie.”
While Valadao’s one-page motion was indeed filed on an appropriations bill, the proposal explicitly targeted the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The motion reads, “None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to draw down and sell petroleum products from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to any entity that does not certify to the Secretary of Energy that … such petroleum products will not be exported to the People’s Republic of China.”
The full chamber vote Wednesday was recorded by the House Clerk here, showing Ryan voted “nay” on the proposal. Valadao’s amendment was proposed as a motion to recommit H.R. 8294, a motion which “is a common procedural maneuver that allows the House minority party to amend a bill before a final vote for passage.”
Michele Perez Exner, a spokeswoman for House Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, pushed back against Chase’s false claims on Twitter.
“Yesterday House GOP tried to put forward an amendment that would have blocked the Biden admin from selling oil kept in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to China,” Exner wrote. “It was blocked by 219 Democrats, including your boss. Looks like you’re the one lying.”
Valadao put forward the motion after Reuters revealed earlier this month that barrels of American emergency reserve oil kept for sudden supply disruptions such as hurricanes were sent to China. According to the Energy Department, 950,000 barrels were purchased by Unipec, the trading arm of the China Petrochemical Corporation owned entirely by the Chinese government. The company is also known as “Sinopec,” in which the president’s son Hunter Biden invested $1.7 billion through the private equity firm BHR Partners.
Hunter Biden’s attorney told The New York Times last fall that he “no longer holds any interest, directly or indirectly,” in the private equity firm. The Washington Examiner reported, however, that Hunter Biden remained listed as a part-owner of the firm as late as March.
President Biden tapped the nation’s emergency oil reserves as an attempt to bring down record gas prices without encouraging American energy production. In March, Biden ordered 1 million barrels released for 180 days to coincide with the fall midterms. The “unprecedented” release followed another 30 million tapped at the beginning of March, and a 50-million-barrel discharge in November. By December, the White House will have depleted 260 million barrels from the reserves with an authorized capacity of 714 million. The Department of Energy has announced plans to replenish only 60 million barrels, leaving the stockpile at its lowest level since 1985.