WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Congress and the White House are eyeing what they can do about the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ decision to slash production.
One bipartisan group of senators is pushing a bill that would allow the U.S. to sue OPEC for abusive business tactics, saying it’s time to get tough.
“We call it NOPEC,” Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said. “We want (OPEC) to abide by the same free-market rules that we have in our country.”
OPEC’s announcement last week that it would cut production about 2 million barrels daily starting in November could increase already high gas prices globally. The White House said it may also help fuel Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine.
“And that is a problem,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.
U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said “NOPEC” is among several options under consideration.
“The president believes there should be consequences and we want to makes sure that those consequences don’t have negative impacts on our citizens at home,” she said.
Grassley said his bill would help stop OPEC’s abuse of its power but admitted it is unlikely to immediately lower gas prices. The American Petroleum Institute, which represents the oil industry, said the only way to do that is produce more oil domestically.
“We have a supply and demand imbalance,” API’s Frank Macchiarola said.
He argued suing OPEC wouldn’t work and said it could “really put at risk … the global supply chain.”
Grassley hoped NOPEC would be passed right after the midterms. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who decides what bills get votes and when, said he is considering several options to deal with OPEC’s “appalling and deeply cynical action.”