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Federal Price Gouging Prevention Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

FEDERAL PRICE GOUGING PREVENTION ACT -- (House of Representatives - May 23, 2007)


Mrs. BLACKBURN. I thank the gentleman from Texas.

Mr. Speaker, I do rise today in opposition to this legislation, because I certainly feel that it is going to increase the cost of gasoline to the American people. H.R. 1252 does purport to crack down on price gouging and marketplace manipulation by integrated large oil companies. Yet that is not what this legislation is going to do.

We had a hearing in committee about it yesterday, and I wish, indeed, that we were going to have the bill before us for a markup. What I find in this piece of legislation is that it will put a target on the back of every small business owner who runs and operates a neighborhood convenience store, a filling station or a truck stop. As I said in our hearing yesterday, there are so many of these that are the local gathering spot. These are not people that are going to gouge their neighbors.

You know, I know it is tempting to react to constituents' frustration with high gas prices. We are all frustrated with that. But the way to do it is not passing a hastily drafted price-control legislation. We should be focused on the real problem and work for real results on this issue. That is what our constituents want.

H.R. 1252 is not going to give us the real results. What we are going to see is a turn-back to energy policy, back to the Jimmy Carter era. It is a clumsy attempt, I think, to punish bad actors who take advantage of the public. But the bill adopts some vague language, employs some heavy-handed criminal penalties, some unenforceable civil penalties that no small business owner could afford.

I do think it's a little bit of legislative overkill, and some people would call it unconscionably excessive. They are entitled to that point. It was my hope that Congress would go through regular order, would address some of the issues pertaining to this Nation's energy policy, and look for some real solutions to the root problem.


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