Washington, DC—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made the following statement today after Senate Republicans blocked an effort to address rampant speculation in the energy markets. The Energy Markets Emergency Act would have directed the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to use all of its authorities to ensure the market price for energy commodities accurately reflects supply-and-demand forces and is not warped by excessive speculation:
“For the fifth time in less than a month, Senate Republicans have run away from an opportunity to help Americans suffering from record-high gas prices at the height of the summer driving season. Today, the Republicans who feign such great concern about energy prices blocked a Democratic bill that would help rein in rampant speculation in the energy futures markets, even though the House overwhelmingly and passed the bill in a bipartisan fashion yesterday by a 402-19 vote.
“Even as oil broke yet another record today – closing at $140 a barrel – Bush-McCain Republicans still refuse to govern, squandering these opportunities the same way they have blocked so many other chances to help struggling Americans. When these Republican Senators pass their local gas stations back home next week and see the record-high prices on the board, I hope they reconsider their “wait-and-see” strategy and start working with us to bring down prices soon.”
Bush Republicans Blocked Passage of Bipartisan Legislation to Crack Down on Speculation in the Oil Market. Republicans objected to a unanimous consent request to pass legislation approved by the House 402-19 that would have directed the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to immediately crack down on oil speculation.
Senator Cantwell: So, Mr. President, while we’re taking a holiday, there’s no holiday for consumers on higher gas prices. But one thing that we can do is make sure that the chief agency in charge of policing these oil markets uses its emergency authority while we’re gone to do everything they can to protect consumers. I think that this is important legislation and the fact that 402 of our colleagues also agreed, I think it’s time that we do the same thing. As I said, they didn’t have a lot of too many to discuss this. They were just all in an agreement that this is an emergency situation and we should make sure the CFTC uses that emergency authority. So I ask unanimous consent that the Senate proceed to the immediate consideration of this House bill, H.R. 6377, the Emergency Marketers Emergency Act, which was just received from the House and the bill be read three times and passed, and the motion to reconsider be laid on the table, with no intervening action or debate.
The Presiding Officer: Is there objection?
Senator Sessions: Mr. President, I would object. On behalf of the Leadership on this side. [Unofficial transcript, 6/27/08]
Republicans Twice Blocked Creating New Energy Tax Credits. Republicans twice blockedmotions to invoke cloture (thus limiting debate) on the motion to proceed to the bill that would extend dozens of expired or expiring tax provisions for one year and create new clean energy-related tax incentives. Note: Three-fifths of the total Senate (60) is required to invoke cloture. Motion rejected 50-44: R 3-44; D 45-0; I 2-0. [Senate Vote #147, HR 6049, 6/10/08; Senate Vote #150, HR 6049, 6/17/08]
Republicans Blocked a Bill that Would Have Cracked Down on Speculation and Price Gouging, Invested in Renewable Energy and Rolled Back Tax Breaks for Oil Companies. Republicans blocked a motion to invoke cloture (thus limiting debate) on the motion to proceed to the bill that would repeal tax benefits for oil companies worth $17 billion over 10 years that were enacted in 2004 and 2005, as well as direct the money to renewable energy. It also would impose a profits tax on the largest oil companies. Note: Three-fifths of the total Senate (60) is required to invoke cloture. The motion was rejected 51-43: R 6-41; D 43-2; I 2-0. [Senate Vote #146, S 3044, 6/10/08]
Republicans Blocked Climate Change Bill Which Would Have Set Up a Cap and Trade System and Provided Billions of Dollars for Alternative Energy Development. Republicans blocked a motion to invoke cloture (thus limiting debate) on the Boxer, D-Calif., substitute amendment no. 4825 that would cap greenhouse gas emissions nationwide and set up a trading system for companies to buy and sell emissions allowances. Note: Three-fifths of the total Senate (60) is required to invoke cloture. A "nay" was a vote in support of the president’s position. The motion was rejected 48-36: R 7-32; D 39-4; I 2-0. [Senate Vote #145, S 3036, 6/6/08]