The U.S. House passed a bill geared towards oil and gas companies that will focus on alleged price-gouging at the pump. The bill — introduced by democrat representatives Kim Schrier of Washington and Katie Porter of California — would give the president the ability to issue an emergency energy proclamation. If this were to occur, it would then be illegal to raise gas and energy prices to a level that is deemed excessive or exploitative.
“The problem is Big Oil is keeping supply artificially low so prices and profits stay high. Now I think that when the market is broken, that’s when Congress has to step in to protect American consumers, and that’s what this bill does: It empowers the FTC to go after the gougers and empowers the agency to effectively monitor and report on market manipulation,” said democrat representative Frank Pallone in a hearing this past Monday.
The bill was unanimously voted against by House republicans, along with democrat representatives Jared Golden, Lizzie Fletcher, Stephanie Murphy and Kathleen Rice. However, the bill passed through the House with a vote of 217-207, and with the Senate split evenly between republicans and democrats, it is unclear if the bill will get off the ground.
“I’m a proud capitalist, and what we’re experiencing with fuel prices is the result of a broken market,” said bill co-sponsor Katie Porter in a statement. “Big Oil executives are bragging to shareholders about price gouging families at the pump. They’re purposely keeping supply low to earn record-high profits, squeezing families — and our entire economy — in the process.”
Republicans such as House GOP Whip Steve Scalise, however, blame policies from the president as the main factor for the recent inflation of gas prices.
“If anybody is going to be sued for gouging, it should be the Gouger-in-Chief Joe Biden who has created this problem,” he said on the House floor. “Stop relying on foreign countries for our energy when we can make it here cleaner, better than anyone in the world and lower gas prices and address this problem. This bill doesn’t do it. We got to bring up the bills that actually fix the problem.”
With gas prices at an all-time high, the bill could be a factor that plays into the alleged price gouging occurring throughout the country.