Another vital rsource held 'captive' by Congressional distraction, in this case - the Senate.
I cannot stress how vital helium is in providing high-strength aluminum welds, as are used in the automotive industry and aerospace (plabes, rockets, missiles and spacecraft. I suspect that the USNavy is looking at this in alarm with regard to shipbuilding and repair. While other gases can be used, they do not provide the same high-quality inclusion-free welds typical of helium.
Oddly, the origin of this American monopoly was the WWI use of Zeppellins by Germany to bomb England. Military planners soon realized that in a pre-radar era these airships could easily bomb or land personnel across the Atlantic Wall (the then unflyable ocean.) Establishing an American monopoly led to the "Hindenburg" accident and subsequent disuse of hydrogen in lighter-than-aircraft. And also assured America's lead in technological use of helium.
But, "private" enterprise, which has made billions through this program cannot tolerate big government interference in their profit.
Wonder who has a lot of gas right now? Anyone want to float a trial balloon?