This week, Congressman Larry Kissell (NC-08) called on House Agriculture Committee leadership to immediately hold hearings into rising energy prices, particularly gasoline and oil. Kissell is a member of the Agriculture Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
"Rising gas prices are crippling the finances of families and small businesses, and we must take immediate action," said Kissell. "Rampant speculation is having a negative impact on family budgets and is making it harder and harder for people to make ends meet. It's time for folks in Washington to realize that we must do what's best for American consumers, and stop caving in to the interests of big oil."
In a letter, addressed to Rep. Frank Lucas, Agriculture Committee Chairman, and Rep. Mike Conaway, Chairman of the Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management, Kissell and eight other members note the 25 percent increase in oil prices since January of this year, and call for immediate action.
"In the last four months, oil prices have risen to date by 25 percent and we have not yet reached the summer peak season when oil and gas prices experience further increases," the letter states. "Given the increase in energy prices and continued concern about speculation in energy markets, we believe it is appropriate and imperative that our Committee conduct its own hearing into energy prices."
In addition to the call for Committee involvement, Kissell has taken legislative steps to help address the problem of rising gas prices. Kissell is the author of H.R. 142, the National Strategic Gasoline Reserve Act, to create gasoline reserve locations across the U.S. that can be released in the event of a shortage due to crisis or natural disaster.
Also this week, Kissell announced his support for an amendment proposed by fellow North Carolina Rep. Heath Shuler that would establish a 45-day Federal Gas Tax holiday, reducing the price per gallon of gasoline by almost 20 cents upon implementation. Kissell is also a cosponsor of H.R. 964, the Federal Price Gouging Prevention Act, to punish those who take advantage of consumers by inflating the price of gas for no reason other than profit.