Lummis Responds to Democrats’ Vote Empowering OPEC

August 10, 2021

Senate Democrats voted down an amendment to support American energy production and independence

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) criticized Senate Democrats for blocking her amendment that would have ensured American energy independence as part of the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion tax-and-spend bill.

“Since 2019, America has been a net total energy exporter,” Senator Lummis said. “We have covered our own needs for energy with our own production, and we can now export our cleaner energy to other nations. Unfortunately, Democrats and the Biden administration would rather tether our energy future to OPEC than let us develop our own energy. Their green new deal obsession is hurting America’s energy producers. It is also causing more pollution by bolstering foreign energy production under lax environmental regulations. This makes no sense.”

The Protecting Our Wealth of Energy Resources (POWER) Act was originally introduced on January 28, 2021. This bill would cancel the Biden administration’s executive order banning oil and gas leasing on federal lands. The POWER Act was introduced as an amendment to the Democrats’ Spending Bill. It was defeated in a vote of 49 to 50.

According to the United States Energy Information Administration, the United States was a net total energy exporter in 2019 and 2020. By eliminating our reliance on foreign energy sources, the United States is better positioned to deal with geopolitical threats. The Biden administration’s ban on oil and gas leasing threatens that position and leaves the United States vulnerable to the whims of OPEC.

Senator Lummis spoke on the Senate floor in support of her amendment. Remarks as prepared for delivery can be found below.

Madame President,

As Americans are trying to enjoy their last month of summer vacation before kids go back to school, they are facing gasoline prices at a near seven-year high. What is the Biden Administration doing about this? They are begging Russia and the OPEC oil cartel to pump more oil so that U.S. gasoline prices don’t rise any more than they already have under his watch. Meanwhile, through various executive actions such as the Biden ban on new oil and gas development and cancelling pipelines, this President is attacking American workers and American energy independence. The oil and natural gas industry supports 11.3 million jobs across the country and contributes nearly $1.7 trillion to the American economy. It makes no sense to send production to other countries when we could be doing it here, produced cleaner, more efficiently, and with American workers and wages. My amendment is simple: it restores Congressional prerogative by cancelling the Biden ban, reduces our dependence on OPEC, and strengthens the American economy. I urge my colleagues to support it.