US Senate, House Democrats Outline Plan For Lowering Gas Prices


Thursday, April 28th 2022, 6:06 pm


WASHINGTON -

Democratic leaders in Congress Thursday accused “big oil” of gouging consumers at the gas pump and vowed to move quickly on legislation to prevent such behavior and thereby bring down gas prices.

"Lowering costs at the pump, lowering costs at the kitchen table. That’s what Democrats are about," Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) at a press briefing Thursday.

With oil and gas companies reporting record profits last year, the Democrats said, the industry could afford to lower prices but instead are enriching themselves and their shareholders.

“And what are they doing with those profits? This is what outrages me -- stock buybacks, that don't improve a thing,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said.

“They are hoarding the windfall while keeping prices high for people at the pump,” added Pelosi. “In this time of war — in any time — there is no excuse for big oil companies to profiteer, to price gouge or exploit families.”

The two leaders said the economic damage caused by two years of COVID-19, and more recently by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, has been bad enough.

"These conditions have put consumers over a barrel and make them vulnerable to market manipulation and price gouging," Schumer said. "It’s time for the FTC to roll up its sleeves and drill down on what’s going on at the big oil companies."

The legislation in the works to “police” big oil would empower the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general to more closely examine how fuel prices are being set, both by wholesalers and retailers, and give them the authority slap civil penalties on violators.

"The bottom line is what we’re saying today is that we are tired of the corporate greed,” Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee said. “We’re going to step in. We’re going to do what’s right for the American consumers."

Members of the Oklahoma delegation haven’t yet responded to the leaders’ comments or to the proposed legislation but have in the past stood steadfastly with the oil and gas industry.

Members have also consistently blamed the current high prices on the policies of the Biden administration.