Miss. Senator says POTUS is looking for “scapegoat” for failed energy policies.
In a Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation hearing on Wednesday, U.S. Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) called out national Democrats for their political posturing on soaring gas prices.
Senator Wicker’s comments came at a hearing to consider pending legislation, including a bill titled the Transportation Fuel Market Transparency Act that would purportedly direct the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to identify price gouging and manipulation in oil and gas markets.
Sen. Wicker said that for decades, when gas prices have spiked, the FTC has been asked to identify price gouging or manipulation in the oil and gas market.
“And each time, the FTC has found nothing,” Wicker said.
“Today, with gas prices hitting record highs, instead of reckoning with how the President’s own anti-domestic energy policies are contributing to this crisis, the President is looking for a scapegoat,” Wicker added. “This bill would do just that…[it] would empower the FTC to harass more small businesses and individuals, but it would do nothing to provide relief to the American people.”
Wicker, the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, has been critical of Democrats’ allegations of price gouging. The Mississippi Senator wrote a letter in March to the FTC asking the agency to produce evidence of oil market manipulation.
“It is clear that gas prices have risen due to the current administration’s zealous agenda to reduce domestic oil and gas production combined with surging inflation caused by a significant increase in government spending,” Wicker wrote. “However, some have proposed that the cause of rising gas prices is not these factors but rather market manipulation or some other type of collusion among members of the oil and gas industry. If Congress is to properly address the current crisis and provide relief to Americans in need, we must be fully informed of the potential underlying causes of skyrocketing gas prices.”
The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation advanced Senator Maria Cantwell’s (D-WA) Transportation Fuel Market Transparency Act. The legislation is co-sponsored by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR).
The legislation, which incorporated five amendments offered by Commerce Committee Republicans, is expected to be voted on by the full Senate during the next work period.
“The rising prices of fuel is wreaking havoc on consumers,” Senator Cantwell said following the Committee Executive Session. “The issue before us today is whether the FTC should have every tool possible to make sure that oil market manipulation in the petroleum sector is properly transparent.”