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Commodity Markets Transparency and Accountability Act of 2008

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Location: Washington, DC


COMMODITY MARKETS TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY ACT OF 2008 -- (House of Representatives - July 30, 2008)

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Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the gentleman from Minnesota, the chairman of the committee, and the gentleman from North Carolina, for their hard work, particularly the gentleman from Minnesota. He thought that, following the passage of the farm bill earlier this year, that he would have a lighter burden. And instead, we have devoted a substantial amount of time to this legislation. Six hearings were held, more than 30 witnesses were invited before the committee, and literally, dozens of meetings took place as well to reach the point we are at. And I want to commend him for that work.

And I think that he has done a very good job in fending off some very bad ideas that the committee heard about from other Members and from others who wanted the committee to do a whole lot more than we are doing in this legislation.

But I will tell you that I think, quite frankly, the whole process is one that is not complete. We really shouldn't be bringing this up the day before the Congress recesses for August. We should take it up in September, after this particular bill has been examined more closely by more people and has, perhaps even held a hearing on the legislation itself.

Nonetheless, I understand the constraints he is under. He has been advised that we have to take this legislation up now. And that is what is really troubling to me the most about the legislation. I am going to support it. I think it is a modest improvement in the oversight of our commodity markets. And certainly, if there is excessive speculation in the energy markets, we all favor curbing that abuse.

But quite frankly, what we really are not getting to do is what took place in the last vote we just cast, the decision to adjourn this Congress this week without anything on the calendar this week to deal with the problem that is most concerning the American people, and that is the fact that we do not have a program to increase the domestic supply of American energy.

And we, on the Republican side, just last week, introduced legislation that already has 120 cosponsors or more, the American Energy Act, that would do all of the above. It would increase production of oil and natural gas, which we badly need, given the price that we are facing at the pump. It would have incentives for the development and expansion of nuclear power, clean burning coal technology. It would have incentives for the development of exciting new prospects for new types of energy, it would promote solar and wind power and renewable fuels and hydrogen technology. It would promote conservation, which the American people are already being forced to do because of the high price of energy they are facing at the gas pump today.

And I talked to a woman just last week who informed me that to fill the tank at her home with kerosene that will heat her home next winter she has been told will cost her $2,400.

We need to be producing increased production, American production of energy. That is what we should be debating here today. That is what should be on the floor today. And I do not understand why the leadership on the other side of the aisle will not allow us to have a vote on this.

It is very clear that the overwhelming majority of the American people want to see us take action on this. It is very clear that the significant number of Members on the other side of the aisle would join with virtually all of the Republicans on this side of the aisle in supporting legislation to make America energy independent. But we are not getting that vote, and the reason we are not getting that vote is because the leadership on the other side will not allow it.

What do they have to be afraid of in an American democracy that we can't vote on the American Energy Act?

That is what this is really all about. They want to go home and say they have done something about energy, when, in point of fact, they have done nothing about the supply of energy in this country because they will not allow us to vote on increasing the supply. That is what this legislation should be addressing, but instead, we are going to address legislation that simply reforms what is being done in the commodity futures trading markets. Certainly, that is a good thing and an important thing for us to look at, but it does not get at the crux of the problem we are facing.

Mr. Speaker, I support this legislation, but I would urge my colleagues to point out that this is not what we need to be debating here today at the end of July just before we go home for the August recess.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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