As the summer driving season approaches, Congressman Phil Hare (D-IL) joined a majority in Congress in approving new tools to fight record high gas prices. On Tuesday and Wednesday, Hare voted for legislation to crack down on gas price gouging and OPEC state-controlled entities that conspire to limit the supply or fix the price of oil.
"Illinois residents are paying the highest average gas prices in the nation$3.49 for a gallon of regular," Hare said. "As the cost of fuel continues to spiral out of control, it is imperative that Congress takes action to protect consumers and their families."
On Tuesday, the House approved H.R. 2264 to authorize the Justice Department to take legal action against OPEC state-controlled entities that participate in conspiracies to limit the supply or fix the price of oil. Nations or organizations that limit oil supply can artificially inflate the cost of gas and hurt American consumers.
On Wednesday, the House approved the Federal Price Gouging Prevention Act, a bill to give the Federal Trade Commission the authority to investigate and punish companies that artificially inflate the price of gas. The bill sets criminal penalties for price gouging, and permits states to bring lawsuits against wholesalers or retailers who engage in such practices.
"Gas prices are particularly offensive at a time when oil companies are enjoying record profits," Hare said. "Exxon-Mobil is coming off its best first quarter ever, earning $9.3 billion between January and March."
In addition to the legislation approved this week, Hare has already voted for a bill to redirect $14 billion in Republican tax cuts for oil companies into the expansion of renewable fuels. Democrats are also developing an Independence Day package to increase America's energy independence and reduce global warming.
"I ran for Congress to fight for ordinary peoplewhether it's a small business owner, a truck driver, or an everyday commuter," Hare said. "I am keenly aware that my constituents are hurting and will continue to promote policies that benefit working families, not big oil."