Senate Democrats

Experts and Advocates Support the Democrats’ Consumer-First Energy Act

The Consumer-First Energy Act, legislation to address the root causes of high gas prices, is supported by energy and economy experts as well as labor, environmental, business, rural and seniors’ advocates. They agree that this bill will address the root causes of gas prices, spur innovation and development of alternative energy and reduce America’s dependence on oil. 

Energy and economy experts support the Consumer-First Energy Act:

Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich Said Consumer-First Energy Act Will Help Cut the Price of Gas at the Pump. “The Consumer-First Energy Act is not a gimmick. It will genuinely help cut the price of gas at the pump, and it’s exactly what hard-pressed Americans need right now.” [Senate Democratic Communications Center Press Release, 5/7/08]

Tyson Slocum, Director of Public Citizen’s Energy Program, Called Consumer-First Energy Act Is a Comprehensive Approach to High Energy Prices.  “This comprehensive approach to high energy prices – holding both oil companies and financial speculators accountable for the record prices we’re paying for energy – is the type of leadership America needs to solve our energy crisis.  Oil Companies like Exxon are spending more buying back stock – $40 billion since January 2007 – than on their entire global capital expenditures.  If oil companies aren’t willing to use their record earnings to invest in the energy infrastructure improvements we need to break our oil addiction, then it is only fair to prod them to do so by levying a new income-tax surcharge.  And restoring transparency and disclosure in futures markets where prices of energy are actually set will clamp down on the harmful speculation that is responsible for the spiking price of oil.” [Senate Democratic Communications Center Press Release, 5/7/08]

Dan Weiss, Senior Fellow and Director of Climate Strategy at the Center for American Progress Action Fund Called Consumer-First Energy Act a Lifeline to Families Struggling With High Fuel Prices.  “This bill is a lifeline to families struggling with high fuel prices. The plan would finally rein in big oil and OPEC – measures that were blocked last year by congressional conservatives.  Record fuel prices should lead them to choose families’ wallets over oil companies’ profits in 2008.” [Senate Democratic Communications Center Press Release, 5/7/08]

Broad coalition of advocates supports the Consumer-First Energy Act:

Teamsters Said Consumer-First Energy Act Is a Common-Sense Approach to Protecting American Workers. In a statement, Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa said, “More than 600,000 Teamsters earn their living driving vehicles that run on petroleum-based fuel. These exorbitant prices are hurting our employers, whether they are freight or parcel delivery companies, airlines, police departments, grocery chains or school bus companies. High gas prices are eating into paychecks and destroying family budgets. Families have to pay more for essentials because they cost more to deliver. This bill is a common-sense approach to protecting American workers from greedy corporations and speculators.” [Teamsters Press Release, 5/8/08]

AFL-CIO President John Sweeney Applauded Introduction of Consumer-First Energy Act Because it Will Put Americans to Work and Keep Future Energy Costs Low. “We applaud the introduction of the Energy Price Reduction Act of 2008, which is a common sense approach to skyrocketing gas prices… Congress must act because, as we have seen over and over again, the Bush – Cheney White House will never interfere with Big Oil’s ability to turn record profits at the expense of the American public. We are particularly encouraged by the provisions designed to encourage investment in new energy capacity.  Not only will this put more Americans to work but it should also help keep future energy costs reasonable. Working people are fed up with policies that put corporate profits ahead of workers’ prosperity. It’s time to fill the tank with affordable gas, make a complete U-turn from the policies of the past, and clear the road for working people to reach the America dream.” [AFL-CIO Statement, 5/9/08]

Sierra Club Executive Director Said Consumer-First Energy Act Will Help Us Break Our Addiction to Fossil Fuels. “The Sierra Club is thrilled with this bill… The bill will actually protect consumers, put America on the path toward a clean energy future, and finally put the brakes on the taxpayer-funded giveaways that have been helping fuel Big Oil’s record profits. It’s time for wind farms, not windfalls.  Right now, Big Oil has consumers over a barrel but isn’t even paying its fair share.  This bill will take back the giveaways to polluters and instead put that money where it will do some good by investing it in clean, renewable energy, energy efficiency, and the other smart energy solutions that will help us break our addiction to fossil fuels, bring energy costs back under control, and put our economy back on the path to prosperity. This bill offers Senators the chance to stop writing a blank check to Big Oil and begin to help their constituents who are clamoring for real relief from pain at the pump.” [Statement from Carl Pope, Sierra Club Executive Director, 5/7/08]

Small Business Majority Said Consumer-First Energy Act Will Help Protect Small Businesses. “Leaders in Congress have introduced the Consumer-First Energy Act of 2008 that will help protect American small businesses against price gouging and price manipulation. It’s a good first step towards stabilizing energy prices. By punishing price gouging, and giving the President authority to declare an energy emergency if there is a shortage, disruption, or significant pricing anomalies, small businesses will be protected against unfair and unlawful increases in gas prices that cut into their bottom line. Stabilizing the price of gas by suspending increases to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve through December 2008, limiting the price impacts of excessive speculation, and giving the Attorney General the power to bring action against any country or company that is colluding in setting the price of energy products will also help protect small businesses from being forced to shut their doors if gas prices climb too high.” [Small Business Majority, Statement of Support for Consumer-First Energy Act, 5/7/08]

My Rural America Called for Passage of Consumer-First Energy Act. “On behalf of rural Americans, we urge immediate passage of the Consumer-First Energy Act of 2008… As the Consumer Federation of America confirms, rural households consistently have been hit hardest by rising fuel prices because first, rural households are more likely to have a vehicle and to be required to drive at least 15% more miles than do those who drive in metropolitan areas.  This rising cost of fuel means less money for essentials – food, rent, house payments, and more.  In addition, farmers’ cost of doing business has dramatically increased, resulting in more stress on food prices.” [Letter from My Rural America, 5/1/08]

Member of Alliance for Retired Americans Praised Consumer-First Energy Act for Cracking Down on Price Gouging and Helping Seniors on Fixed Income Save Money on Gas Prices “And a special thank you to Senate Democratic leaders for introducing legislation that address the high energy prices that we are all experiencing… An extra dollar or two per gallon may not seem like a lot of money to a big oil executive, but to a senior on a fixed income – it is everything. When our costs go up and our income does not, that dollar means you don’t know if you’re going to have enough money to buy food after you fill up the tank… Finally, our government is addressing these problems that affect so many of us with legislation that will crack down on price gouging and force big oil to pay their fair share.” [Statement by Josephine Rowe, Member of Alliance for Retired Americans, 5/8/08]