Gas Price Bill Gains Support

Energy and economic experts have endorsed the Consumer-First Energy Act of 2008, a bill introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders and others to addresses the root causes of high gas prices. Robert B. Reich, a former secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor, said the legislation "will genuinely help cut the price of gas at the pump, and it's exactly what hard-pressed Americans need right now." Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizen's Energy Program, said the holding both oil companies and financia

Energy and economic experts have endorsed the Consumer-First Energy Act of 2008, a bill introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders and others to addresses the root causes of high gas prices. Robert B. Reich, a former secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor, said the legislation "will genuinely help cut the price of gas at the pump, and it's exactly what hard-pressed Americans need right now." Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizen's Energy Program, said the holding both oil companies and financial speculators accountable for record price "is the type of leadership America needs to solve our energy crisis." Added Daniel J. Weiss, a senior fellow and director of climate strategy at the Center for American Progress Action Fund: "This bill is a lifeline to families struggling with high fuel prices."

Support for the legislation also came from Jim Hoffa, general president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. "More than 600,000 Teamsters earn their living driving vehicles that run on petroleum-based fuel. These exorbitant prices are hurting our employers, whether they are freight or parcel delivery companies, airlines, police departments, grocery chains or school bus companies." Barbara Leach, the president and founder of My Rural America, added, "In these times when the cost of the ‘old fossil fuels of the past' has skyrocketed, rural citizens, whether they live on the farm or work in town, are suffering the most." Family farmers are enduring an almost 100 percent increase in the price of gasoline, fertilizer, diesel fuel, she said."

Sanders said the legislation could help reduce the high prices of gasoline and heating oil by a putting a windfall profit taxes on oil companies, eliminating tax breaks for oil and gas companies, suspending shipments to the strategic petroleum reserve, limiting speculation in oil futures and giving the U.S. Department of Justice the power to prosecute price gougers. "What we are doing is beginning to bring forward a comprehensive package which says to the American people that what's going on now is unacceptable that the price of oil and gas has got to go down," said Sanders. "The American people are looking out, they're seeing Exxon Mobil making more profits than any corporation in the history of the world. They're seeing hedge fund managers making billions of dollars in personal profits. The time is now for this Congress to begin to respond to the needs of the American people, this package begins to do that."

To watch excerpts from the press conference announcing the introduction of the comprehensive legislation, click here.

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