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House passes bill to crack down on gasoline ‘price gouging’ – Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland, Ohio 2022-05-19 16:58:23 –

Washington (AP) —Thursday, a tightly divided House of Representatives approved the bill to crack down on allegations of price cuts by oil companies and other energy producers as pump prices continue to rise.

A bill backed by the Democratic Party of the House will empower President Joe Biden to declare an energy emergency that makes it illegal to raise prices for gasoline and household energy fuels in “excessive” or exploitative ways. .. The bill directs the Federal Trade Commission to punish companies engaged in price surges and adds new units to the FTC to monitor fuel markets.

“When people across the country are feeling a gas pump pinch, Congress needs to do everything it can to reduce the cost of American families,” said D-Wash co-sponsor Kim Schlier. rice field. Invoice.

“It’s happening at the same time that gas and oil companies are making record profits and taking advantage of the international crisis,” she said. This should be stopped. “

The bill was approved, 217-207. Republicans unanimously opposed the bill with four Democrats. It now goes to the Senate, where a similar bill faces sudden odds in the 50-50 split between Democrats and Republicans.

The focus was on price cuts, as gas prices averaged $ 4.59 per gallon on Thursday, 49 cents higher than a month ago and $ 1.55 higher than a year ago, according to AAA.

ExxonMobil, Chevron and other major oil companies announce surge profits In fact, the fact that it totaled more than $ 40 billion in the first quarter of this year, Democrats repeatedly quoted in the floor debate. Many companies spend billions of dollars on buying back shares and paying dividends to investors.

Another co-sponsor, Katie Porter, a member of D-Calif, said: “Make it sloppy.”

Republicans and industry groups called the bill going in the wrong direction and said there was no evidence of price cuts. Oil is a global commodity and prices are set in the global market.

Gas prices rose at the end of last year amid supply chain problems and rising demand associated with the post-pandemic economic recovery of COVID-19, but prices have risen further since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24. I am. U.S. banned Russian oil imports And other countries are looking for alternatives to Russia’s energy, pushing up prices.

Biden, recognizing political interests, Do everything he can to relieve “pump pain for American families” Includes ordering a record amount of oil to be released from the country’s strategic stockpiles.

White House spokesman Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden “to protect consumers and ensure that oil companies are not taking advantage of Putin’s war (Russian President Vladimir) and are competing fairly. We welcome all ideas. “

Republicans say the answer to rising gasoline prices is to increase production here in the United States.

Republican second-party Louisiana parliamentarian Steve Scalise called the bill an attempt by the Democratic Party to “distract and shift the government’s voluntary energy and criticism from the inflation crisis.”

Scallis called the bill “a socialist price-fixing plan that most hurt SMEs and consumers.” He “politicized” the FTC by giving the Commission “a wide range of powers based on undefined parameters that allow the Democratic Party to deprive the market and set government-controlled gasoline prices.” I blamed him.

Congressman Chris Pappas, DN.H. Said that a bill was needed. “Last month, oil prices fell, but consumer pump prices continued to rise. We must put an end to the company’s profits and reassure families. No, “he said.

The American Expeditionary Production Council, a lobbying group representing independent oil and gas producers, called the bill counterproductive. Ann Bradbury, CEO of the group, said:

The House of Representatives voted after Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland said he would announce a long-term postponed five-year plan to allow the Secretary of the Interior to lease new offshore oil and gas. The current plan expired on June 30, and government officials did not say when or when the replacement would be released. Despite canceling three scheduled offshore leasing sales off the Gulf of Mexico and off Alaska.

Harland told the Senate Energy Commission that the new plan will be announced by June 30. This plan does not issue a specific lease or approve a drilling project.

“When we take this next step, we follow science and law as usual,” Harland said Thursday, “a robust and transparent review process that includes input from states, the general public and tribes.” I swore.

The Biden administration has been pressured to increase US oil production as fuel prices soared due to the pandemic and war in Ukraine.

Biden also faces pressure from the Democratic Party and environmental groups to work harder to combat climate change, despite his legislation on climate change and clean energy stalled in a rapidly split parliament. Is urging.

Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat in West Virginia who chairs the Energy Commission and plays a major role in energy policy, said Thursday: Oil and gas production is very clear. “

Manchin said he supported Biden announces suspension of new oil and gas leases on federal land and waters Shortly after taking office in January 2021. By last summer, he told Harland that “the time of the pause has passed.”

Sixteen months after the suspension was announced, “there are no new leases yet,” Manchin said. “I’m sorry to say that it has become clear that’pause’is actually prohibited. “

The interior, in response to a court order, launched an offshore lease last fall, but the sale was made later. Emptyed by a federal judge..

The government plans to sell onshore leasing next month, primarily in eight western states. However, authorities have reduced the amount of land provided for drilling and increased the royalty rate charged to energy companies by 50%.

The four Democrats who opposed the House bill are Lizzie Fletcher of Texas, Jared Golden of Maine, Stephanie Murphy of Florida, and Kathleen Rice of New York.

House passes bill to crack down on gasoline ‘price gouging’ Source link House passes bill to crack down on gasoline ‘price gouging’

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