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Rep. Baca Votes to Strengthen Oversight of Oil Futures Markets

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Congressman Joe Baca (D-Rialto) today joined a bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives in passing H.R. 6604, the Commodity Market Transparency and Accountability Act. H.R. 6604 is designed to bring fluctuating commodity and oil trading prices in the futures market under control, and passed the House with a 283 - 133 vote.

"Too many families in the Inland Empire and across the nation are hurting from skyrocketing energy and food costs," said Rep. Baca. "The impact of speculative trading on the futures markets is a real factor in the recent volatility we have seen in the crude oil and agricultural markets. I am proud to support this responsible legislation, which will reign in trading prices and restore the futures market to its original intent - as a mechanism of price discovery and risk management."

H.R. 6604 includes the necessary measures for the Commodity futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the governing body that regulates futures trading, to increase transparency, oversight, and anti-manipulation authority over futures and options markets. Provisions included in the legislation would:

Require foreign boards of trade to share trading data and adopt speculative position limits on contracts that trade U.S. commodities;

Require the CFTC to set trading limits for all agricultural and energy commodities, in order to prevent excessive speculation;

Limit eligibility for hedge exemptions to bona-fide hedgers;

Call for a minimum of 100 full time CFTC employees to enforce anti-manipulation provisions and prevent fraud; and,

Authorize the CFTC to take action if it finds disruption in over-the-counter markets for energy and gas.

"With Californians paying over $3.80 per gallon of gas, Congress must take all steps necessary to curb excessive speculation and lower oil trading prices," concluded Rep. Baca. "Today's legislation moves us away from the Bush-Cheney-McCain energy policies of record prices at the pump and record profits for big oil companies, and brings us one step closer to a responsible energy future."

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