The price for regular gasoline reached a record $3.53 per gallon today — 23 percent more than this time last year and 140 percent more than when President Bush took office. The Democratic-led Congress has passed a number of key bills to reduce the burden of rising gas prices on Americans and make America less dependent on foreign oil — but the President has threatened to veto each one. House Democrats call on President Bush to support House-passed legislation such as the No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels (NOPEC) Act, The Energy Price Gouging Act, and the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act and bring real relief to America's families and businesses now. The House discussed these bills today on the floor.
Rep. Ed Markey (MA-07): “Well, this is what you get after eight years of a Bush-Cheney presidency, abetted and aided for six of those years by a Republican Congress. Well, let’s even take it further. Let’s take it to the next step. Let’s look at oil company profits. Let’s just take the big five oil companies in the United States led by Exxon Mobil. Well, the cumulative profits of all five companies in 2001 was $37 billion. That’s all five — I will not yield at this time — all five big oil, all five of the big oil companies, cumulatively, made $37 billion. Now, let’s look at last year. Last year those five oil companies made $123 billion in profits and Exxon Mobil alone made $42 billion, the largest profit of any corporation in American history, exceeding the total amount of all of those oil companies’ profits in 2001.”
Rep. Jay Inslee (WA-01): “Mr. Speaker, I just had a meeting I think is relevant to this conversation, I just met with the leaders of the Phoenix Motor Car Company of Ontario, California. They hoped to bring out an all-electric car that will go 120 miles on one charge. You can charge your car for $3 and not use a drop of gasoline. Now, they could use a little assistance from Uncle Sam to bring these products to market as quickly as possible. And we on this side of the aisle proposed some bills to do that, because we wanted to take the $21 billion that this side of the aisle wants to give to the oil and gas companies in tax breaks and give those tax breaks to consumers and companies so we can get all electric cars, so we can… break our addiction to Middle Eastern oil. That is a solution. You want solutions? You can’t handle solutions.”
Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR-04): “Now, there is another thing they could do. They can help us with a provision we put in the Farm bill, which is stalled in the Senate, which would close the Enron loophole. Remember Enron? Ken Boy, the President’s favorite guy? He just died before he went to jail. Well, the Enron boys convinced the Republican Congress to give them a special loophole, to deregulate energy commodities, to allow for massive speculation. And there is widespread agreement in the financial community that about 50 cents of the price that’s being paid at the pump today is being paid purely because of speculation brought about by the Enron loophole. You really want to do something about the high price of oil, help us close the Enron loophole. Get your president to file a complaint against OPEC for colluding to drive up the price of oil. Help strip out the taxpayers’ subsidies to the oil, coal and gas industry. You are taking out of their wallets while you are taking it out of their pockets at the pump.”
Rep. Bart Stupak (MI-01): “So what has the GOP and this president said he was going to do? Remember? He was going to ‘jawbone’ his friends the Saudis to produce more oil so we’d have it here in this country. Oh, he jawboned alright. He jawboned all the way up to record prices, record profits, where Exxon can pay its CEO a $400 million pension with $40 billion in profits last year. Oh, boy, they jawboned, alright. Their jawbone is chewing on our pocketbook and hurting the middle class and this country. What have we done? The energy price gouging bill, H.R. 1252 which we passed last May, 284-141. 141 on the other side wouldn’t even vote with us to stop the gouging of the prices we see day in and day out. This legislation would have provided the Federal Trade Commission with the authority to investigate and prosecute those who engage in price gouging, predatory pricing and other unfair practices…”