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Pelosi to Bush on Gas Prices: We Cannot Wait to Act

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent the following letter today to President George W. Bush urging him to sign into law legislation that Congress has passed to help American families with the rising price of gasoline.

“I respectfully ask you again to work with the Congress to allow the Justice Department to pursue oil cartel price-fixing, allow the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) the authority to investigate and punish price gougers, end taxpayer subsidies to Big Oil and invest those funds in renewable American energy. Lastly, your Administration must use the authority given to it by the Congress to end market manipulation. We cannot wait to act in the face of these prices increases,” she wrote.

Below is a text of the letter:

April 22, 2008

The Honorable George W. Bush
The President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

As we celebrate Earth Day, the price of a gallon of regular gasoline has reached a record $3.51 — 23 percent more than this time last year and 138 percent more than January 2001. Historic gas prices now far exceed those during the 1981 energy crisis.

Americans are paying too high a price at the pump for energy policies that have placed subsidies for Big Oil ahead of sensible investments in clean, renewable energy resources that can heat and cool our homes, fuel our cars, and spark a green jobs revolution. In addition to energy costs, rising food prices, high health care costs, the growing housing crisis and rising unemployment are hurting American families and business, and weakening our economy.

Mr. President, we have worked together to enact the first increase in fuel economy standards for cars and trucks in 32 years, dramatically boosting efficiency standards for buildings, lighting, and appliances, and investing in homegrown biofuels. I respectfully ask you again to work with the Congress to allow the Justice Department to pursue oil cartel price-fixing, allow the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) the authority to investigate and punish price gougers, end taxpayer subsidies to Big Oil and invest those funds in renewable American energy. Lastly, your Administration must use the authority given to it by the Congress to end market manipulation. We cannot wait to act in the face of these prices increases.

I respectfully ask that you work with the Congress to get the following pieces of legislation, which have already passed the House, to your desk for your signature:

The No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels (NOPEC) Act – H.R. 2264

This legislation enables the Department of Justice to take legal action against foreign nations for participating in oil cartels that drive up oil prices globally and in the United States. It does so by exempting OPEC and other nations from the provisions of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act when acting in a commercial capacity; by making clear that the so-called “Act of State” doctrine does not prevent courts from ruling on antitrust charges brought against foreign governments; and by authorizing the Department of Justice to bring lawsuits in U.S. courts against cartel members. This bill passed the House 345-72. You have threatened to veto this legislation.

The Energy Price Gouging Act — H.R. 1252

This legislation will reduce the burden of rising gas prices on American families, providing immediate relief to consumers by giving the FTC the authority to investigate and punish those who artificially inflate the price of energy. It ensures the federal government has the tools it needs to adequately respond to energy emergencies and prohibit price gouging — with a priority on refineries and big oil companies. This bill passed the House by 284-141. You have threatened to veto this legislation.

Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act of 2008 – H.R. 5351

With Exxon Mobil posting a record-breaking $40 billion in profits last year, it is unnecessary for taxpayers to subsidize Big Oil. This bill will end unnecessary subsidies to Big Oil companies and invest in clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency. It will extend and expand tax incentives for renewable electricity, energy and fuel, as well as for plug-in hybrid cars, and energy efficient homes, buildings, and appliances. These provisions are critical to creating hundreds of thousands of jobs. And the preservation of existing jobs relies on them too: a recent study showed that allowing the renewable energy incentives to expire would lead to about 116,000 jobs being lost in the wind and solar industries through the end of 2009. This bill passed 236-182. You have threatened to veto this legislation.

Market Manipulation Provisions in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007

Lastly, the bill we worked on together, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, made it unlawful for any person to take manipulative action or report false information on the wholesale price of gasoline or petroleum and required the Federal Trade Commission to enforce and punish those found guilty of such actions. It is imperative that the FTC act now to crack down on these abusive practices.

Your support for these efforts is all the more critical as your Administration has failed to persuade OPEC to increase their oil production to bring down prices, despite your considerable influence with OPEC nations.

The New Direction Congress is providing forward-looking leadership that will fuel America's energy future, save Americans' money, create good jobs, improve our national security, and preserve our planet for our children. This critical issue needs Presidential leadership and I urge you to please join us to address the skyrocketing price at the pump.

best regards,

NANCY PELOSI
Speaker of the House

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