Late yesterday, the House introduced and passed the Energy Markets Emergency Act of 2008. H.R. 6377 directs the CFTC to take emergency action to address excessive speculation, swap transactions, and price distortion in energy markets. The bill’s passage, by an overwhelming majority of 402-19, sends a message to the energy traders that more legislation is to come.
House Democratic leaders hope to bring broader legislation to the floor next month that requires greater transparency and new curbs on speculation by pension funds, big banks and other investors. You will recall that on Tuesday, the House Agriculture Committee announced a markup scheduled for Wednesday that would address speculation in energy commodity markets. However, Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN) decided to wait until he could hear from members of Congress and energy analysts who have taken a lead on the issue and the markup was cancelled. The bill (H.R. 6334) sponsored by Rep. Bob Etheridge (D-NC) would expand oversight and increase funding and staff levels at the CFTC, but some members of Congress complained that the bill would not go far enough to rein in excessive speculation. The House Agriculture Committee plans on spending more time on the issue once the House returns from July 4 recess. Please review H.R. 6377 here. (pdf file)
Although this is positive news and a strong indication that there could be enough votes on both sides of the aisle to pass a broad bill to fully address excessive speculation in the energy commodity markets, this is the time that we need to go full steam ahead with the PMAA Stop Oil Speculators campaign!
Congress needs to hear from all of us loud and clear that a full and comprehensive solution must be made immediately! Please contact PMAA if you need information about the campaign and how to receive campaign material to distribute at your retail stations.