Olson Leads Effort to Help Energy Industry Amid COVID-19 Pandemic
Washington, DC — Congressman Pete Olson (TX-22) today led a letter with Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) and Reps. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) and Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) signed by 60 members of the House of Representatives to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell requesting that the energy sector be allowed access to federal aid. The letter calls on Secretary Mnuchin and Chairman Powell to “resist calls to limit industry or company eligibility with regards to accessing the Main Street Lending Program” passed as part of the CARES Act.
“The energy industry is critical to not only the Houston economy, but Texas overall,” Olson stated. “Market instability and economic contractions due to the COVID-19 pandemic have put the oil and gas industry that powers America and the world in the same peril as other businesses currently fighting to survive. It’s only fair to ensure that the energy sector also has access to federal assistance to help them through this critical time. I thank my 59 House colleagues who joined this request to make sure that our energy industry has a fighting chance to access available assistance.”
The letter was signed by Olson, Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) and Reps. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Bruce Westerman (R-AR), Michael McCaul (R-TX), Randy K. Weber (R-TX), Neal P. Dunn, M.D. (R-FL), Roger Williams (R-TX), Chip Roy (R-TX), Kelly Armstrong (R-ND), Clay Higgins (R-LA), Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (R-AZ), Mike Conaway (R-TX), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Ron Wright (R-TX), Earl L. “Buddy” Carter (R-GA), Fred Keller (R-PA), Greg Pence (R-IN), Ralph Abraham M.D. (R-LA), Bob Latta (R-OH), Carol D. Miller (R-WV), Rick W. Allen (R-GA), Scott Tipton (R-CO), Greg Gianforte (R-MT), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA), Scott Perry (R-PA), Debbie Lesko (R-AZ), Jack Bergman (R-MI), Will Hurd (R-TX), Bill Johnson (R-OH), Kenny Marchant (R-TX), Kevin Hern (R-OK), Dan P. Meuser (R-PA), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Troy Balderson (R-OH), David Rouzer (R-NC), Richard Hudson (R-NC), Larry Bucshon, M.D. (R-IN), Ann Wagner (R-MO), Andy Barr (R-KY), Jim Hagedorn (R-MN), Bill Flores (R-TX), Rick Crawford (R-AR), Lance Gooden (R-TX), Jodey Arrington (R-TX), Van Taylor (R-TX), Phil Roe, M.D. (R-TN), Rob Bishop (R-UT), Russ Fulcher (R-ID), Garret Graves (R-LA), John Joyce (R-PA), Ron Estes (R-KS), Dan Newhouse (R-WA), Liz Cheney (R-WY), Tim Walberg (R-MI), Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), Drew Ferguson (R-GA) and Jody Hice (R-GA).
Full text of the letter:
May 11, 2020
The Honorable Steven T. Mnuchin
U.S. Department of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20220
The Honorable Jerome Powell
Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
20th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20585
Dear Secretary Mnuchin and Chair Powell:
Thank you for your leadership and hard work during this difficult time. We are writing to respectfully request that the Department of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve provide equal consideration of all industries when implementing the Main Street Lending Program.
As you may be aware, the United States leads the world in oil and natural gas production. However, the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has greatly affected our economy as businesses across America have been forced to shut down or limit operations. The oil and gas industry is no exception. Global oil prices have declined nearly 60 percent since January 2020. The combination of drastically dropping demand due to the pandemic, a volatile market, the recent price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia, and U.S. oil storage at or near capacity has created a harrowing fate. On April 20th, oil contract prices dropped to an astonishing and unprecedented negative $37 for May delivery of U.S. crude.
We appreciate President Trump urging the Department of Energy, the Department of the Treasury, and the Federal Reserve to work in unison to implement a plan to ensure liquidity is accessible for the oil and gas industry. America’s oil and natural gas industry supports 10.3 million jobs in the United States and nearly 8 percent of our nation’s Gross Domestic Product. It is crucial to keep the energy sector functioning and hard-working Americans employed, notonly to retain U.S. energy dominance, but to rebuild our overall American economy.
Therefore, we respectfully request that the Department of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve resist calls to limit industry or company eligibility with regards to accessing the Main Street Lending Program. The intent of Congress is clear, through the CARES Act, that the creation and implementation of this new program should encompass small and medium sized businesses, without discriminating by industry.
The Main Street Lending Program is not constructed as a bail out, but rather geared to provide liquidity to companies through federally guaranteed lending. These companies were in good standing before the pandemic hit and now find themselves in this unique and unprecedented time, with little access to capital. This is exactly why the Main Street Lending Program should be available to all industries, without discrimination, to ensure a return of a roaring American economy.
Once again, thank you for your hard work and dedication during these difficult times. America is in an era of energy dominance, and together we can work to maintain it during these hard and extraordinary times.