March 22, 2000
The Administration remains concerned about the current oil market situation
and is taking steps to address it. The Administration opposes H.R. 3822
because it would harm ongoing diplomatic efforts to persuade major oil
producing states to expand production and infringe on the President's
The Administration is taking every opportunity to convey to senior officials of OPEC and other major oil producing states its belief that more oil production is needed. Proceeding with this legislation, particularly at this time, would harm these diplomatic efforts. The bill also raises constitutional concerns regarding the President's responsibilities to conduct foreign affairs by requiring the President to undertake certain diplomatic actions and to disclose information about these diplomatic negotiations.
Moreover, the strong performance of our economy over the past year, despite oil price rises, underscores the dramatic improvements in energy efficiency and reliability over the past quarter century. Over the long term, increasing the energy efficiency of the economy provides the best opportunity to enhance our energy security. The Administration therefore calls on Congress to pass the Administration's comprehensive package of tax incentives that promote energy efficiency and renewable sources of energy for the U.S. economy, and new tax incentives for domestic oil producers to reduce U.S. reliance on oil imports. The Congress should also fully fund the Administration's request for natural gas, renewable energy, and energy efficiency including the funding for weatherization proposed in the FY 2000 Supplemental. In addition, the Administration urges the House to approve the Administration's proposed Supplemental request for Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
The Administration also calls for Congress to immediately reauthorize the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and the International Energy Program at the Department of Energy. This is necessary to ensure that the President maintains the ability to use all available tools to respond to the needs of the U.S. economy. Further, in order to reduce the likelihood that future heating oil shortages will harm consumers, the Administration calls on Congress to authorize the creation of a home heating oil reserve in the Northeast with an appropriate trigger that could supply additional heating oil to the market in the event of a supply shortage.