Karine Jean-Pierre Scrambles When Asked Why Biden Isn’t Moving Ahead With Plan To Refill Oil Reserves
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 03: White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre talks to reporters during the daily news conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on April 03, 2024 in Washington, DC. Jean-Pierre fielded questions about rebuilding funds for the collapsed bridge in Baltimore, Ukraine funding in the House of Representatives, the killing of World Central Kitchen workers in Gaza and other topics. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre appeared to short-circuit during Wednesday’s briefing, struggling to come up with an answer when pressed on President Joe Biden’s decision not to refill the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as previously promised.

Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy prefaced his question with a reminder that Biden had promised to refill the SPR, claiming that he was only draining it to compensate for the spike in gas prices that he had blamed on Russian President Vladimir Putin and his February 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

“First, the — so, you guys started draining the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to try and help with ‘the Putin Price Hike’ a few years ago. Said you were going to refill it. But now it doesn’t seem like that’s happening. Why?” Doocy asked.


Jean-Pierre delivered a halting response, shifting responsibility to the Department of Energy and suggesting that the issue was not so much whether or not it would be refilled, but how that would eventually come about.

“Well, from — I believe the Department of Energy is — is responsible for — for that particular component — is refilling — refilling that, so I would refer to the Department of Energy. I know there are certain components to that and how they were going to move forward and refilling — refilling it. Uh — I — they would have had more specifics on that for you,” she said.

Reports broke earlier on Wednesday stating that the Biden administration would not be refilling the SPR as originally planned, citing the high cost of oil as a barrier to getting that done.

“We will not award the current solicitations for the Bayou Choctaw SPR site and will solicit available capacity as market conditions allow,” the Department of Energy said. “We will continue to monitor market dynamics.”

Daniel Turner, founder and executive director for Power The Future, released a statement on the move, saying, “[President] Joe Biden drained the SPR for political reasons, cut our domestic production for his climate agenda, and now he’s leaving our critical reserve more vulnerable because he’s incompetent. As a result, Americans are paying more at the pump, more at the grocery store and our SPR is less full during a time of rising turmoil in the Middle East.”

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