Our View

From the Conference

SRC Senate Snapshot

Mar 05 2012

Weekly Outlook:

The Senate convened at 2:00 p.m. today and is currently in a period of morning business.  There will be no roll call votes today.

S. 1813, the two-year surface transportation bill, is still pending in the Senate. On Friday, cloture was filed on the Reid substitute amendment #1761 (EPW, Banking, Finance, and Commerce titles and 37 amendments cleared by the bill managers) and on S. 1813.  If an agreement cannot be reached today or early tomorrow for consideration of amendments, the Senate is expected to vote on the motion to invoke cloture on the Reid substitute amendment #1761 at noon tomorrow.

At approximately 2:15 p.m. tomorrow, the Senate will vote on the nomination of Mary Elizabeth Phillips, of Missouri, to be United States district judge for the Western District of Missouri, and the nomination of Thomas Owen Rice, of Washington, to be United States district judge for the Eastern District of Washington. 

In addition to the surface transportation bill, the Senate may consider the following issues during this work period: judicial nominations, postal reform, cybersecurity, Iran sanctions legislation, and the STOCK Act. 

There will be no roll call votes on March 12 and March 19.

What's Being Said - Senate Republican Conference & Senate Republican Communications Center:

  • Dem Gas Price Priorities  President Obama's Energy Secretary Confirms That Their Goal Isn't Lower Prices, and a Top Senate Dem Only Wants to Increase Production Overseas
  • Outsourcing Energy Jobs?  Top Democrat Senator Demands Increased Energy Production, Jobs in Saudi Arabia Rather Than Increasing American Energy and American Jobs

SRC Video Clips:

SRC Policy Note:

Raiding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve

      An increasing number of congressional Democrats are calling on President Obama to release oil from the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) as a way to bring down gas prices. However, with increasing tensions with Iran, prematurely raiding the SPR could have long-term costs that would far outweigh the short-term benefits. 

      On June 23, 2011, President Obama announced a release of 30 million barrels of SPR oil. At the time, the national average price of gasoline was $3.60/gal. Following the announcement, the price of gas continued to drop by 6 cents to a brief low of $3.54/gal. Barely two weeks after President Obama's SPR announcement, gas prices were higher than they had been before the release. 

      Consumers saved an average of 3 cents per gallon for approximately two weeks following the 2011 release. However, the long-term negative effects are still being felt. The 30 million barrels have yet to be repurchased, and if these barrels were repurchased at today's prices, taxpayers would lose $700 million. Additionally, thanks to the 2011 release, the reduced SPR only holds enough oil to account for just 80 days of net imports.

      By calling for an SPR release, congressional Democrats are conceding that additional supplies of domestic oil will help consumers at the pump and protect the United States from supply disruptions. However, releasing SPR oil is just a short-term fix. Increasing domestic oil production from onshore and offshore areas will have a lasting impact on oil markets while reducing our vulnerability to foreign supply disruptions. 

Republican Efforts to Strengthen the Economy:

  • Senators Thune, Cornyn, Murkowski, Sessions, and Hoeven Host Press Conference and Call for Action on High Gas Prices (Watch Video)
  • Senator Cornyn Leads Republican Letter to President Obama on Immediate Steps the President Can Take to Lower Gas Prices (Read More)
  • Senator Inhofe Introduces Bill to Improve Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rule (Read More)
  • Senator Ayotte Renews Call to Eliminate Duplicative, Wasteful Washington Spending (Read More)
  • Senator Shelby Presses Fed to be Nonpartisan, Transparent, and Accountable (Read More)