Senate to vote on suspending SPR purchases as separate bill

The US Senate will vote early May 13 on suspending oil purchases for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as a separate bill, Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) announced.

May 12th, 2008

Nick Snow
Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, May 12 -- The US Senate will vote early May 13 on suspending oil purchases for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as a separate bill, Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) announced.

"We are going to take this provision out of our energy bill and bring it to a vote as the second order of business [May 13]. It will require bipartisan support to get the 60 votes necessary to override a presidential veto. But it's an obvious area of agreement in this Congress," he said on the Senate floor.

Sen. Byron L. Dorgan (D-ND) introduced the bill calling for suspension of SPR oil purchases until prices fall below $50/bbl on Feb. 6 and later raised the threshold to $75/bbl. The measure became part of the energy bill which Senate Democrats introduced on May 7.

Reid's announcement came after Sen. Pete V. Domenici (R-NM), the Energy and Natural Resources Committee's ranking minority member, said that he no longer opposes halting SPR crude purchases temporarily.

"In the past, I have not advocated such a proposal, but the high cost of gasoline has fundamentally changed the equation. It is clear that both Republicans and Democrats agree that given the high price of gasoline, it would be wise to suspend shipments to the SPR for the time being," Domenici said on May 12.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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