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Sunday, April 14, 2024

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“Beholden to a Mob”: Waukesha School Board Reverses Direction, Cites Horrific Threats


“Vitriol, insults, and trying to destroy our businesses,” “unfathomable. I was told to put a bullet in my head. I was told children would die, and students would starve. It’s unacceptable.” – Corey Montiho, school board member describing threats he received.

Folding to aggressive threats and bullying from a national “mob” driven by politics and misleading news coverage, the Waukesha School Board reversed direction by rescinding its decision on free school lunches, some board members said in a heated special meeting on Aug. 30.

The 5-4 vote came after an emotional discussion in which school board members in opposition to rescinding the vote described receiving threats, with one board member saying people’s businesses were imperiled, and he was told to “put a bullet in my head.” Board members described their children’s pictures being posted online. Several board members said the board would be caving to a bullying mob if it changed its earlier decision, but that’s just what happened.

In June, the board voted unanimously to abandon a federal program that gives universal free lunches to all students regardless of income. The board switched back to a program, used before the pandemic, that gives free and reduced lunches only to children whose parents meet income guidelines.

Waukesha School Board Reverses Direction

On August 30, though, in the face of a weekend of threats that resulted in police intervention and harm to board members’ businesses, a majority of the board rescinded its earlier vote, and it will now give free lunch to all students, even if their parents are wealthy. The lunches are provided to all under age 18 even if they aren’t enrolled in Waukesha schools.

The board members who caved are Amanda Roddy, Greg Deets, Bill Baumgart, Patrick McCaffery, and Joseph Como Jr. Some board members who caved said that the federal income guidelines can leave out some children whose parents have “situational” poverty due to the pandemic or who don’t apply for reduced or free lunches because of the stigma.

The board members who voted against rescinding the board’s earlier decision were Corey Montiho, Kelly Piacsek, Karin Rajnicek, and Anthony Zenobia. All four board members detailed the barrage of threats they received and implored the board not to give in to the pressure. Some said they believed caving to the progressive mob would be a slippery slope leading to similar pressure on things like mask-wearing and critical race theory.

The Threats: ‘Unfathomable,’ ‘Unacceptable’

Corey Montiho, a school board member, described “vitriol, insults, and trying to destroy our businesses.” He said it was “unfathomable. I was told to put a bullet in my head. I was told children would die, and students would starve. It’s unacceptable.” He also slammed attacks made by members of the public against Darren Clark, assistant superintendent for Business Services, saying Clark “is an unbelievable asset to this district. Part of his job in committees is to raise the other side of issues.” He suggested that people concerned about feeding kids could donate money to pay off kids’ negative balances.

“This motion is being presented to the board to act on because of intimidation and threats that every board member in here has received and every staff member in here has received,” said Zenobia, adding that the motion was being made “under duress, under threats of intimidation.”

Zenobia called for the School Board not to “buckle under pressure of a national mob for lack of a better word…I would implore everyone here for this board to find their fortitude and spine and sit up and say we are not going to be bullied nationally and even locally that now we are going to take away our decisions that we have made with the best intent..if we do that, this whole program will fall apart. We won’t get the support from the community. We won’t get people volunteering.” He said some of the bullies posted children’s pictures online.

“To sit here and pretend like we’re not making this decision under stress is ridiculous. It’s wrong for us to do,” Zenobia said.

Zenobia said the “progressive socialist left brutalized mothers who sit on this board.” He said the mob would move on to other issues.

“The Washington Post and everyone else who piled on this story brutalized moms with children in this district for political gain,” he said. “It’s disgraceful and despicable what’s happened.” He added, “People believed the lies the media spread. It was a politically driven firestorm.”

Board member Kelly Piacsek said that most emails she received wished harm for her and her family. “The facts have not changed since June,” she said, adding that three of the neediest schools already qualified for free meals for all students regardless of income level, a point lost in news coverage.

“Facts are actually not what got us here tonight. We are here because of coercion, intimidation, threats, aimed at our families,” she said. “Deliberately inaccurate information and twisting of words to villainize this board becomes an erroneous headline in the Washington Post.” Facebook censored community members’ posts who tried to correct misstatements of facts, she said, and The Washington Post put a “horrible headline behind a paywall and put it on Twitter.”

The Democratic Party is fundraising on this issue, Piacsek said. “I am so disappointed with this community right now. I have had the Waukesha Police Department at my house all weekend long. My children’s pictures were posted on Twitter,” she said. She asked where the state Department of Public Instruction was regarding the threats against School Board members.

She called the universal free lunches “federally backed perks to high income students.” Students can’t even pay for meals if they want to, she noted, adding that “the same people complaining about this also complain about the privileges of the most advantaged. Think how much more good we could do with our food service resources if they weren’t wasted on families that had the means to pay.”

“It is disgusting and inexcusable to me that the vile threats to my family and our jobs have been accelerated on a national stage by members of our own community,” continued Piacsek. “If this is how it’s going to go from now on, school board members know this, you are to consult with the Washington Post, Twitter, and Facebook before you make your decisions. This is not local control. It’s bad for our district. It’s bad for American schools. When the federal government is responsible for feeding all students at all times regardless of need, they have ultimate authority and we don’t need local school boards anymore. This is how we got CRT and filthy books and mask mandates and all of this stuff.”

She said rescinding the vote would mean the school board “is beholden to a mob.”

She called the universal free lunches “handouts for high-income families,” calling it irresponsible. The resources could be shifted to help the low-income, she said.

“This isn’t about food anymore. So here we are, neck-deep in cancel culture. Never did I in a million years think my family would be doxxed,” she added.

The threats came on the backs of sometimes biased media coverage; some news outlets ran stories telling readers the School Board didn’t want to offer free lunches anymore, without mentioning the board was switching back to a pre-pandemic program that gives free lunches to children who meet income guidelines. In other words, poor kids would still get free lunches.

The board has now gone back to the universal free lunch approach, meaning even rich kids will get free lunches paid by the federal government.

“A lot of people have referenced that we are not feeding kids,” said Clark. “That was never a discussion. It was not included in the action. We were simply returning to a plan we were using before pre-pandemic.”

Supporting Switching

James Sebert, Superintendent of Schools, said the administration’s position was that the School Board should go back to the universal free lunch for all program because doing so “will help families who may not qualify for free and reduced lunch but are also experiencing situational poverty due to the pandemic.”

Greg Deets was one board member who switched his vote. “Upon reflection I made the earlier votes without really looking at the implications. I wasn’t really informed, and I apologize to that,” he said. “It’s a reminder to me that our votes are really far reaching. The truth is that many of our students are hungry throughout the school day, and we have the ability to do something about that. Many families are just above the threshold for applying for reduced lunch.” Some families who would qualify don’t because “sometimes pride gets in the way.” He said he received about 500-600 emails.

School board member Bill Baumgart said that some kids would go unfed without universal free lunch because all of the parents don’t apply. He said teachers supported the rescinding of the vote. “I didn’t pay as much attention as I should of. We voted nine to nothing because that was probably an easy thing to do. In retrospect I wish I hadn’t,” Baumgart said. He claimed he didn’t change his vote because of the “mob scene,” which he called “terrible.”

Board member Amanda Roddy said she wasn’t switching her vote because of the mob but rather because of “the conviction of my personal beliefs.”

The Spoiled Comment

One comment taken out of context drove a lot of the negative news coverage and subsequent fury, a reference people being “spoiled” by universal free lunches for all.

“Wisconsin school board blasted for saying kids might get ‘spoiled’ by free lunch,” read the headline in the New York Post. The Huffington Post snarled, “Wisconsin School District Rejects Universal Free Lunches So Kids Won’t Get ‘Spoiled.'” Daily Beast huffed, “Wisconsin School District Ditches Free Meals So Students Don’t ‘Become Spoiled.'” The Daily Beast story started with this line, “In a cruel move that has shocked many parents, the Waukesha School District Board opted earlier this year to end its federally funded program to give free meals to all student…”

But what did the board member really say? Here is the FULL quote from that board member, per Patch. Many stories mentioned only the “become spoiled” part without providing the full quote:

“I had three kids, I had them and so I’m going to feed them. I feel like that’s the responsibility of the adult,” Karin Rajnicek, a board member said. “I feel like this is a big problem, and it’s really easy to get sucked into and become spoiled and think, it’s not my problem any more, it’s everyone else’s problem to feed my children.”

On Aug. 30, Rajnicek gave a lengthy, emotional speech at the special meeting, describing various hardships her family had suffered throughout the years and saying that her comments “were taken out of context.”

She noted that there are 300 homeless students in the School District and 35% of students are at or below the poverty level but “they can always have something to eat.”

She said the media purposely took her words out of context. “The spoiled I referred to is me, it’s all of us, if we rely on the system when we can provide for ourselves. If we don’t start saying no to our government handing out more money, we will never get out from under,” and programs will no longer exist for those who truly need them, she said.

“All we did was go back to the program we had in place before the pandemic,” she said. “This is one big game of telephone that might cost some of us our businesses.”

She said board members received thousands of emails, texts and voicemails “every 30 seconds trying to silence me and all of us” and her “five-star business” was flooded with bad reviews. She had to install security cameras at her home and get “legal help to try to dig my business out of this home.” She needed police presence. “Most of this is political,” she said.

Other Nuances

The district had previously indicated the June change was partly made out of a concern that declining applications could affect other funding, a point that didn’t make it into many news stories.

The district noted, “Deciding not to participate in the SFSP does not mean we are not providing for our neediest students. The District will be returning to the National School Lunch program (free/reduced lunch program) that has served students across this country for decades. We will still continue to have universal free breakfast at the schools that meet the program qualifications. We will continue to work directly with families on an individual basis.”

The district said a lot of free breakfasts ended up “in the trash,” and summer participation indicated lowering demand for free meals.

The district also noted that although the news stories stated that the District was the only one in the state choosing to leave (note the semantics) the universal free lunch program, that does not mean it’s the only one that doesn’t participate in it. There are districts (or just their high schools) in the state “that don’t participate in any federal lunch program that will likely not participate in the SFSP (universal free lunch),” says the district.

Another important detail, left out of many, if not most, stories. According to the Associated Press, “In addition, as was practice before the pandemic, young students in grades lower than high school who come to school without a packed lunch, money or an accepted lunch program application, may be given cheaper meals of cheese sandwiches.” That’s in addition to the fact they can still apply for nutritious free lunches if their families apply for the pre-pandemic program. The Journal Sentinel reported that guardians would be charged for these, but it would ensure that no kid goes hungry.

But you wouldn’t know any of this if you were a reader of this online story by WISN-TV, which reported: “Some parents want Waukesha schools to reconsider a decision to turn down federal funding for free school lunches.” Nowhere in this story does it bother to mention that low-income kids would still qualify for free Waukesha school lunches.

WTMJ-TV ran an online story from the Associated Press that similarly did not mention that low-income kids would still qualify for free Waukesha school lunches (media outlets sometimes shorten AP stories to fit their own news holes, but they shouldn’t do so in a way that twists stories by removing key context).

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Five Key Questions Ahead of Trump’s First Criminal Trial

Jury selection is set to begin Monday in the first-ever criminal trial of a former U.S. president.

Former President Donald Trump has pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts related to charges he paid hush money to adult film actress Stormy Daniels through a lawyer and covered it up as a legal expense before being elected president.

Trump has attempted to delay the start of the New York state trial several times, including three longshot tactics judges rejected this week.

What charges does Trump face in the New York hush money case?

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has charged Trump with 34 counts of falsifying business records related to money paid to Daniels and another woman, former Playboy model Karen McDougal. Bragg has alleged Trump broke New York law when he falsified with the intent to commit or conceal another crime.

Prosecutors allege Trump falsified internal records kept by his company, hiding the true nature of payments that involve Daniels ($130,000), McDougal ($150,000), and Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen ($420,000). Prosecutors allege the money was logged as legal expenses, not reimbursements. Both Cohen and Daniels are expected to testify.

Cohen is expected to be a key witness in the trial. Daniels has said she expects to testify.

Former Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., Bragg's predecessor, did not bring the case to trial.

What happens on Monday?

Prosecutors, defense attorneys and Donald Trump are expected to be present when the trial before Judge Juan Merchan gets started Monday. The first step will be picking a jury, a process that could take a week or more depending on how things progress. The trial is expected to last six to eight weeks.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys will select 12 jurors and six alternates from a pool of potentially hundreds of people. Each juror will answer 42 questions designed to determine if they can be impartial in the high-profile trial of a polarizing former president. The jurors will remain anonymous because of security concerns.

Once a jury is seated, it's on to opening statements where prosecutors and defense attorneys will get to address the jury about what they plan to show during the trial.

What is Trump's defense to the charges?

Trump has maintained he did nothing wrong and has accused Bragg of bringing a politically motivated case involving conduct in 2016 during a presidential election year as Trump faces incumbent Joe Biden in a rematch of the 2020 election.

Trump has spoken out against the judge, the district attorney and other involved in the case repeatedly. Trump's comments prompted a gag order from the judge who said Trump can't talk publicly about certain people involved in the case and their families.

"The White House Thugs should not be allowed to have these dangerous and unfair Biden Trials during my campaign for President. All of them, civil and criminal, could have been brought more than three years ago. It is an illegal attack on a Political Opponent. It is Communism at its worst, and Election Interference at its Best. No such thing has ever happened in our Country before," Trump wrote on his social media platform Truth Social this week. "On Monday I will be forced to sit, GAGGED, before a HIGHLY CONFLICTED & CORRUPT JUDGE, whose hatred for me has no bounds. All of these New York and D.C. 'Judges' and Prosecutors have the same MINDSET. Nobody but this Soros Prosecutor, Alvin Bragg, wanted to take this ridiculous case. All legal scholars say it is a sham. BIDEN'S DOJ IS RUNNING THE CASE. Just think of it, these animals want to put the former President of the United States (who got more votes than any sitting President!), & the PARTY'S REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE, IN JAIL, for doing absolutely nothing wrong. It is a RUSH TO THE FINISH. SO UNFAIR!"

Will Trump take the stand?

That's not clear yet. Trump said last month that he'd be willing to testify at trial if needed.

Could Trump go to jail?

It's too earlier to tell what will happen if Trump is convicted. Under New York state law, falsifying business records in the first degree is a Class E felony that carries a maximum sentence of four years in prison.

Trump's age and lack of any prior criminal convictions could work in his favor at sentencing if he's convicted. His attacks on the judge could have the opposite effect at sentencing. Before sentencing, the judge would look at sentencing guidelines, recommendations from prosecutors and any other pre-sentence reports.

In late March, Trump said that he wasn't worried about a conviction when asked if he thought a conviction could hurt his chances of returning to the White House.

"It could also make me more popular because the people know it's a scam," he said. "It's a Biden trial, there is no trial, there's a Biden trial."

Whatever happens during the trial, Trump will be protected by the U.S. Secret Service.

Even if convicted and sentenced to jail, Trump could continue his campaign to re-take the White House.

"The Constitution does not bar felons from serving as President," said Richard Hasen, professor of law and political science at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Trump could not pardon himself from any state charges, Hasen said.

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Liberal Justice Anne Walsh Bradley Not Running for Reelection

(The Center Square) – Wisconsin’s next supreme court race could be even more contentious and even more expensive than the last one.

Liberal Justice Anne Walsh Bradley on Thursday surprised the state when she announced she will not run for re-election next year.

"My decision has not come lightly. It is made after careful consideration and reflection. I know I can do the job and do it well. I know I can win re-election, should I run. But it's just time to pass the torch, bring fresh perspectives to the court," Walsh Bradley said in a statement.

She is one of Wisconsin’s longest serving justices, serving her third 10-year term on the court.

“In the 177-year history of the court, only four justices have served longer than my length of service,” she wrote.

Walsh Bradley’s decision means the next election will be open.

Former Republican attorney general, and current Waukesha County judge, Brad Schimel has already jumped into the race. There aren’t any declared Democrats yet.

Schimel on Thursday said Walsh Bradley’s decision isn’t changing anything for him.

“From the beginning of my campaign, I made it clear that I’m not just running against one person, I’m running against this Court’s leftist majority,” Schimel said. “I wish Justice Ann Walsh Bradley well in retirement after decades of public service. I look forward to continuing the fight to bring integrity and respect for the Constitution back to the Supreme Court of Wisconsin.”

Wisconsin’s last race for the supreme court, in April of 2023, set records for spending. The race between Justice Janet Protasiewicz and former Justice Dan Kelly cost more than $56 million. That makes the 2023 Wisconsin race the most expensive judicial race in American history. Many court observers and politicos in Wisconsin say the 2025 race could be just as expensive, or even more expensive.

Protasiewicz’s victory flipped the Wisconsin Supreme Court to a 4-3 liberal majority for the first time in 15 years.

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State Bar of Wisconsin Changing Diversity Definition to End Discrimination Suit

(The Center Square) – The State Bar of Wisconsin isn’t ending its diversity clerkship that faced a federal discrimination lawsuit, instead it is changing the definition of diversity.

The State Bar agreed to tweak the program and make it about the diversity of ideas and experiences, rather than base the clerkship on race and gender.

“The settlement clarifies the definition of ‘diversity’ but makes no changes to the program,” State Bar Executive Director Larry Martin said. “The Diversity Clerkship Program, which has been creating opportunities for Wisconsin-based law students for three decades, will continue to exist and to operate in its current form.”

The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty sued, saying it’s against the law to hire anyone based on race or gender.

WILL Associate Counsel Skylar Croy said they have had to make it a habit to remind people of that fact.

“Defeating unconstitutional DEI programs has become WILL’s area of expertise, and we are not stopping here,” Croy said in a statement. “While we are pleased with this victory, we know the fight is far from over. In fact, this is only the beginning of a movement, and our lawsuit will provide a roadmap for future victories in all 50 states.”

WILL has also sued over DEI programs at the University of Wisconsin that it says are race-based.

The bar said the only thing that is changing about the Diversity Clerkship is the focus on race in its definition of diversity.

“Under the settlement, the new definition states: Diversity means including people with differing characteristics, beliefs, experiences, interests, and viewpoints. Diversity promotes an environment in which all individuals are treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their differences and without regard to stereotypes, and helps to ensure a better understanding and consideration of the needs and viewpoints of others with whom we interact,” the bar added.

WILL sued on behalf of Daniel Suhr, who is a lawyer in the state and is required to be a member of the bar.

After the settlement, Suhr said the new definition is the first step toward restoring fairness to the Diversity Clerkship.

“Premier internship opportunities should be available to students based on merit – not race. I am proud to partner with WILL to set a strong precedent for the next generation of law students,” he said in a statement.

The Diversity Clerkship Program is a 10-week, paid summer job where first-year Marquette University Law School and University of Wisconsin Law School students are matched with law firms, corporate legal departments and government agencies.

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Group Allegedly Involved in Pre-pandemic Wuhan Coronavirus Research to Testify Before Congress

Lawmakers plan to interrogate the head of Eco Health Alliance, the group accused of conducting dangerous coronavirus research in Wuhan, China just before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic will hold a public hearing May 1 where Dr. Peter Daszak is expected to testify. Daszak is the president of Eco Health Alliance, a U.S. nonprofit health research company that used taxpayer-funded grants to conduct coronavirus research.

The lawmakers on the committee also allege that newly obtained documents show Daszak’s previous testimony misled the committee or misrepresented the facts.

“These revelations undermine your credibility as well as every factual assertion you made during your transcribed interview,” the letter said. “The Committees have a right and an obligation to protect the integrity of their investigations, including the accuracy of testimony during a transcribed interview. We invite you to correct the record.”

One of those obtained documents appears to show Daszak saying he plans to work with Wuhan researchers.

A federal grant database shows that Eco Health Alliance received millions of dollars since 2014 from the federal government to study coronaviruses that originate in animals and in some cases can transfer to humans, with an emphasis on China.

A key and highly disputed part of the inquiry is whether Eco Health Alliance’ research included making coronaviruses more dangerous,.

Under former President Donald Trump, the federal National Institutes of Health cut all funding to the group in question over the controversy.

Under the Biden administration, funding has been restored, and NIH has emphatically stated that Eco Health Alliance did not play a role in the start of the pandemic.

“Unfortunately, in the absence of a definitive answer, misinformation and disinformation are filling the void, which does more harm than good,” NIH said in a 2021 statement. “NIH wants to set the record straight on NIH-supported research to understand naturally occurring bat coronaviruses at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, funded through a subaward from NIH grantee EcoHealth Alliance. Analysis of published genomic data and other documents from the grantee demonstrate that the naturally occurring bat coronaviruses studied under the NIH grant are genetically far distant from SARS-CoV-2 and could not possibly have caused the COVID-19 pandemic. Any claims to the contrary are demonstrably false.”

In 2022 and 2023 NIH awarded Eco Health Alliance a total of at least $1,230,594 to research “the potential for future bat coronavirus emergence in Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam.”

The idea that the COVID-19 virus began in a Wuahn lab was once denounced as a conspiracy theory but has now gotten more widespread credibility.

The FBI announced last year after its investigation that COVID-19 most likely came from a Wuhan lab. That news came just after the Department of Energy also said the Wuhan lab was most likely the origin of COVID-19, though neither agency expressed a high degree of confidence in that theory.

Other groups have suggested it came from the Wuhan wet market, though no definitive answer has been settled on.

Trump's First Criminal Trial

Trump Calls for Sanctions, Censure of Special Counsel Jack Smith

Former President Donald Trump called for special counsel Jack Smith to be sanctioned or censured for "attacking" the judge in Trump's classified documents case.

Trump's comments on Thursday come after Smith and his team of prosecutors made it clear they think Judge Aileen Cannon's latest ruling was based on "an unstated and fundamentally flawed legal premise." Prosecutors objected to Cannon's order to produce proposed jury instructions under two different legal scenarios. Smith said both legal scenarios were flawed.

In response to the judge's order, prosecutors said they need clarification on Cannon's position so they can appeal if needed. They asked the judge to decide before the trial if the Presidential Records Act "has an impact on the element of unauthorized possession" of classified documents. Failure to do so could make it impossible to prosecute Trump because of the double jeopardy clause in the Fifth Amendment, which prohibits anyone from being prosecuted twice for the same crime.

Trump lashed out Thursday morning.

"Deranged 'Special' Counsel Jack Smith, who has a long record of failure as a prosecutor, including a unanimous decision against him in the U.S. Supreme Court, should be sanctioned or censured for the way he is attacking a highly respected Judge, Aileen Cannon, who is presiding over his FAKE Documents Hoax case in Florida," Trump wrote in a message posted to Truth Social.

Trump also said Smith shouldn't be on the case.

"He shouldn’t even be allowed to participate in this sham case, where I, unlike Crooked Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, and all the rest, come under the Presidential Records Act," Trump wrote. "I DID NOTHING WRONG, BUT BIDEN DID, AND THEY LET HIM OFF SCOT-FREE. HOW DID THAT HAPPEN, JACK? A TWO TIERED SYSTEM OF JUSTICE. ELECTION INTERFERENCE!"

Trump has pleaded not guilty to 40 felony counts that allege he kept sensitive military documents, shared them with people who didn't have security clearance and tried to get around the government's attempts to get them back.

Trump faces a rematch against President Joe Biden in this year's presidential election. Trump also faces three other criminal cases in New York, Georgia and another federal case in Washington D.C. He's used millions of dollars in campaign contributions to pay his mounting legal bills.

Trump also is appealing a $464 million fine in a civil case in New York. He posted a $175 million bond to appeal that decision.

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Biden Cancels Replenishment of Strategic Oil Reserves

The Biden administration will pause its replenishment of the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserves because oil has become too expensive, the White House said.

Earlier in his term, Biden drained about half of the U.S. oil reserves down to their lowest level in decades in order to try to lower gas prices, which surpassed a record national average of more than $5 per gallon in 2022 before coming back down. Now, Biden’s effort to replenish those reserves have been stalled.

Critics warn that lower oil reserves are a national security issue for the U.S. If the reserves are low when a larger war or crisis occurs, refilling the reserves could be much more difficult and certainly more expensive.

“It’s pure insanity to watch the Biden Administration cut American oil production and then claim they can’t refill our critical reserve because of the price,” Daniel Turner, founder and executive director for Power The Future, said in a statement. “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.”

Biden has taken fire from Republicans for hindering U.S. oil production and lowering the reserves. The Biden administration has increased regulatory pushback for oil domestic production while raising ongoing concerns about climate change.

“The Biden administration’s war on U.S. energy is crippling hardworking Americans and has led to our Strategic Petroleum Reserves being at their lowest levels since the 1908s,” U.S. Rep. Mike Collins, R-Ga., wrote on X, formerly Twitter. “Reverse course and restore U.S. energy dominance!"