Letter to Honorable Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader

In a letter to Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday, U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) and 47 other Senate Democrats warned about the risk to consumers posed by Republicans' one-third cut to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which protects American consumers by monitoring markets for abuse and speculation. With gas prices in Delaware already up to an average of $3.51 per gallon, we cannot afford for oil-market manipulation to go unchecked.

"We urge you to abandon the reckless energy proposals in the House-passed Continuing Resolution that will condemn our country to continued reliance on foreign oil and allow market manipulation that drives up gas prices to go unchecked," Monday's letter said.

Click to hear from commodities experts about how excessive unchecked speculation in the oil market can impact gas prices: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6Op796TSZg

"We stand ready to work with you to come to a responsible budget compromise that will not do anything to make our gas price problem worse, or undermine the progress we are making in developing the clean energy technologies we need to be ale to compete with countries like China," the letter says. "Together we can craft a sensible fiscal policy that invests in what we need to grow and cuts what doesn't, without undermining our mission to transition to a safe, clean and affordable energy future."

The letter is pasted below.

The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Minority Leader
S-230 U.S. Capitol
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Minority Leader McConnell:

As we work toward a long-term budget compromise to keep the government running through this year, we urge you to abandon the reckless energy proposals in the House-passed Continuing Resolution (H.R 1) that will condemn our country to continued reliance on foreign oil and allow market manipulation that drives up gas prices to go unchecked.

As you know, H.R. 1 would reduce funding for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) by one-third. The CFTC serves as an important "cop on the beat," working to protect American consumers by cracking down on manipulation and other market abuses that can drive up oil prices. Yet your spending plan would shrink the CFTC budget back to 2008 levels, when Americans were blindsided by both record high gas prices and a financial crisis that cost us millions of jobs. According to CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler, these cuts would cause "significant curtailment of staff and resources." At a time where gas prices are rising and squeezing American families, we have aresponsibility to provide our watchdogs the resources they need to fulfill their important oversight and regulatory responsibilities.

We find it equally troubling that your preferred budget would cut billions of dollars in investments in critical programs focused on developing new alternative fuels and clean energy technologies, undermining our competitiveness and increasing our trade deficit with oil producing nations. We urge you to reverse these policies that will only set ournation backward, and put America's independence from foreign oil even further out of reach.

We stand ready to work with you to come to a responsible budget compromise that will not do anything to make our gas price problem worse, or undermine the progress we are making in developing the clean energy technologies we need to be able to compete with countries like China. Together, we can craft a sensible fiscal policy that invests in what we need to grow and cuts what doesn't, without undermining our mission to transition to a safe, clean and affordable energy future.

Sincerely,

Senator Harry Reid
Senator Dick Durbin
Senator Chuck Schumer
Senator Patty Murray
Senator Debbie Stabenow
Senator Kent Conrad
Senator Maria Cantwell
Senator Bill Nelson
Senator Max Baucus
Senator Barbara Mikulski
Senator Jeanne Shaheen
Senator Jeff Merkley
Senator Mark Begich
Senator Dianne Feinstein
Senator Mark Pryor
Senator Richard Blumenthal
Senator Mark Udall
Senator Kay Hagan
Senator Ben Cardin
Senator Al Franken
Senator Barbara Boxer
Senator Frank Lautenberg
Senator Jack Reed
Senator Carl Levin
Senator Mark Warner
Senator Tom Carper
Senator Daniel Akaka
Senator Tom Harkin
Senator Bob Menendez
Senator Ron Wyden
Senator Claire McCaskill
Senator Chris Coons
Senator Michael Bennet
Senator Sherrod Brown
Senator Jon Tester
Senator Amy Klobuchar
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
Senator Bob Casey
Senator John Kerry
Senator Jay Rockefeller
Senator Jeff Bingaman
Senator Daniel Inouye
Senator Joe Lieberman
Senator Bernie Sanders
Senator Patrick Leahy
Senator Herb Kohl
Senator Tim Johnson
Senator Tom Udall