Republican calls for Pelosi to probe Biden admin's potentially 'illegal' request for Saudis to delay oil cut

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Rep. Tom Tiffany, R-Wis., has asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to launch hearings into the Biden administration’s request that Saudi Arabia delay a cut in oil production until after the midterm elections.

Announcing a planned oil cut to production by two million barrels a day, which could send gas prices spiking in the weeks before the U.S. midterms in November, the Saudi government said that the U.S. had requested the cut be delayed a month.

“The government of the kingdom clarified through its continuous consultation with the US administration that all economic analysis indicates that postponing the OPEC+ decision by a month, according to what has been suggested, would have had negative economic consequences,” read a Thursday statement from the Saudis, who lead the OPEC+ oil conglomerate.

The statement immediately led to concerns from Republican lawmakers that the Biden administration was thinking of the electoral consequences of such a move.

SAUDIS SAY BIDEN ADMIN REQUESTED OIL PRODUCTION CUT TO COME AFTER MIDTERMS

On Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi claimed that farmers in Florida need illegal immigrants to stay in their state and "pick the crops."

On Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi claimed that farmers in Florida need illegal immigrants to stay in their state and “pick the crops.”
(Fox News )

The administration immediately pushed back, accusing the Saudis of trying to “spin and deflect” in efforts to aid the Russians in their invasion of Ukraine.

“In recent weeks, the Saudis conveyed to us — privately and publicly — their intention to reduce oil production, which they knew would increase Russian revenues and blunt the effectiveness of sanctions. That is the wrong direction,” White House spokesman John Kirby said in a statement. 

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“We presented Saudi Arabia with analysis to show that there was no market basis to cut production targets, and that they could easily wait for the next OPEC meeting to see how things developed. Other OPEC nations communicated to us privately that they also disagreed with the Saudi decision, but felt coerced to support Saudi’s direction,” he said.

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But the statement has not satisfied some Republicans. In his letter to Pelosi, Tiffany said that the claim by the Saudis is a “very serious allegation.”

“One that, if true, may very well constitute an illegal solicitation of a foreign in-kind contribution by the White House on behalf of Democrats’ midterm campaign efforts,” he wrote.

Gas prices have fallen in many areas of the country since peaking over the summer, and the GOP has criticized Biden’s policies and high spending as a driver of inflation and high fuel costs, making pocketbook issues a key campaign message as Republicans seek to win control of Congress in the November midterm elections.

Tiffany urged Pelosi and the Democratic chairs of House committees to convene hearings “to determine if such calls took place and what specific requests were made regarding Saudi or OPEC+ oil production by Biden administration officials.”

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He also seeks transcripts of calls involving President Biden, Vice President Harris and other cabinet and administration officials and Saudi officials about oil production, and to identify any official who asked the Saudis to delay oil production cuts until after November.

“It is the House’s responsibility to exercise its oversight responsibilities and get to the bottom of these troubling reports as soon as possible,” he wrote. 

Fox News’ Anders Hagstrom contributed to this report.



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