Pelosi: President Should Help Lower Gas Prices by Suspending Filling of SPR, Urges Immediate FTC Probe

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today following comments made this morning by President Bush on energy policy:

“During his press conference this morning, President Bush repeated his call for more domestic oil drilling – the same failed energy policy that has brought record gas prices. Drilling has already increased dramatically since 2000 – the number of oil wells on land has increased about 66 percent – and yet the price of gasoline has more than doubled since President Bush took office. Furthermore, opening the Arctic Refuge would have no significant effect on reducing our dependence on foreign oil or the price of gas at the pump.  Experts have concluded that opening up the Arctic for drilling would produce only a six month supply of oil -10 years from now – nothing that will help consumers today.

“To help lower gas prices today, President Bush should temporarily suspend purchases of oil for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR).  Contrary to the President’s assertion, the American people would benefit from suspending these government purchases. It could reduce gas prices by five to 24 cents a gallon – a critical first step for America’s families, businesses, and the economy.  The SPR has been tapped before by President Bush, President Clinton, and the first President Bush.  In 2000, this action brought the price of oil down by one-third – from $30 to $20 per barrel.

“House Democrats have also called on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate record gas prices.  In our energy bill last year, Congress gave the FTC the authority to probe possible market manipulation of gas prices, but to date, the Commission has failed to exercise its power to protect consumers from skyrocketing energy costs. It must do so immediately.

“The House has also passed legislation to crack down on oil price gouging, hold OPEC accountable for oil price fixing, and repeal subsidies for profit-rich Big Oil companies so that we can invest in a renewable energy future.  However, President Bush and most of his Republican allies in Congress have opposed these efforts.  Today, American consumers face more pain at the pump – paying a record $3.61 a gallon.”

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Below is a list of bills the House has already passed, many of which are still awaiting action in the Senate:
Crack Down on Gas Price Gouging
HR 1252 – Federal Price Gouging Prevention Act

  • Passed: May 23, 2007; 284-141 (Dem: 228-1, Rep: 56-140)
  • Opposed by 140 Republicans, including all of the Republican Leadership (except McCotter)
  • Bush Administration veto threat issued 5/23/07
  • It has been 342 days since this measure passed the House
  • Democrats first offered this in 2005, but Republicans blocked it [Vote #500, 9/28/05, Vote #517, 10/7/05 and Vote #518, 10/7/05]

Hold OPEC Accountable for Oil Price Fixing
HR 2264 – No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act “NOPEC”

  • Passed: May 22, 2007; 345-72 (Dem: 220-5, Rep: 125-67)
  • Opposed by 67 Republicans, including most of the Republican Leadership (Boehner, Blunt, Cole, Dreier, and Granger)
  • Bush Administration veto threat issued 5/22/07
  • It has been 343 days since this measure passed the House
  • Democrats first offered this proposal in the fall of 2005

Repeal Subsidies to Profit-Rich Big Oil Companies, Invest in Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency
HR 5351 – Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act of 2008

  • Passed: February 27, 2008; 236-182 (Dem: 219-8, Rep: 17-174)
  • Opposed by 174 Republicans, including all of the Republican Leadership
  • Bush Administration veto threat issued 2/26/08
  • It has been 62 days since this measure passed
  • Democrats first offered a version of this in 2006, but House Republicans rejected Democratic efforts to remove $5 billion worth of subsidies and tax loopholes for large oil companies that are earning record profits. [Vote #109, 4/27/06; Vote #121, 5/3/06]
  • And in our first 10 hours of the New Direction Congress, Democrats passed HR 6 over the objection of 159 Republicans, including all of the Republican Leadership.
  • It has been 467 days since this measure passed

Energy Independence Law with Market Manipulation Ban and New Vehicle Mileage Standards
H.R. 6, Energy Independence and Security Act

  • Passed December 18, 2007, 314-100 (Dem: 219-4, Rep: 95-96)
  • Opposed by 96 Republicans, including most of the Republican Leadership (Boehner, Cantor, Cole, Granger and McCotter)
  • Bush Administration signed on December 19, 2007