On Wednesday, the House will vote on the “Consumer Fuel Price Gouging Prevention Act” (H.R. 7688). The bill would hand the President sweeping authority to issue “an energy emergency proclamation” in which fuel prices would be prohibited from increasing.
Americans for Tax Reform opposes these price control measures and urges all lawmakers to vote “NO” on H.R. 7688.
Would Increase Likelihood of Gas Shortages
As Americans face record high gas prices averaging $4.52 per gallon, Democrat price controls would increase the likelihood of gas shortages by disrupting normal market incentives for companies to meet consumer demand and further discourage investment in new oil and gas production.
Bill Slammed by Obama’s Top Economic Advisor
Even President Obama’s former Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, Jason Furman, slammed the bill as “dangerous misguided nonsense.”
Would Allow Biden to Declare Rolling 30-Day Energy Emergencies
The legislation would allow President Biden to issue “an energy emergency proclamation for any area within the jurisdiction of the United States” for a period of 30 consecutive days and can be renewed for as many 30-day periods as the President sees fit.
Here it is straight for the bill’s text:
(A) IN GENERAL.—The President may issue an energy emergency proclamation for any area within the jurisdiction of the United States, during which the prohibition in paragraph (1) shall apply, that includes the geographic area covered, the consumer fuel covered, and the time period that such proclamation shall be in effect.
(B) DURATION.—The proclamation—
(i) may not apply for a period of more than 30 consecutive days, but may be renewed for such consecutive periods, each not to exceed 30 days, as the President determines appropriate; and
(ii) may include a period of time not to exceed 1 week before a reasonably foreseeable emergency.
FTC Violation to Raise the Price of Gas
A gas pricing violation under the bill’s 30-day energy emergency proclamation would be treated as an unfair or deceptive act enforceable by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
The bill broadly defines a gas pricing violation as a sales price grossly exceeding the average price the fuel was offered for sale during the previous 30-day period or “another appropriate benchmark period, as determined by the Commission.” This is so broadly defined that it simply allows the FTC to determine what the price of gasoline should be.
FTC Penalties Used to Fund Woke Spending Slush Fund at DOE
All penalties collected by the FTC would be funneled into a “Consumer Relief Trust Fund” housed at the Treasury Department. From there the funds are redirected to spending programs at various federal agencies including the Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) which provides grants to low-income households to increase the energy efficiency of their homes using “sustainable energy resources.”
A 2019 report from New Jersey’s State Auditor found that 7 percent of all recipients of the federal program underreported their income and found payments to recipients providing earnings statements from non-existent companies.
Americans for Tax Reform opposes H.R. 7688 and urges all Members of Congress to vote “NO.”