July 22nd, 2008
12:15 PM ET
13 years ago

Dems push for crackdown on oil speculators

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/05/06/thecapitol.jpg caption="Democrats on Capitol Hill are pushing for a crackdown on oil price speculators Tuesday."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Senate Democrats say one way to lower oil prices is to crackdown on oil price speculators - investors who trade in oil contracts aiming to profit from changes in prices.

But Republicans are skeptical. Senate Republican Charles Grassley of Iowa charges that Democrats' demands to curb speculating is a "fig leaf" to avoid more drilling for oil in the United States.

The Senate is facing a test vote on a Democratic bill that would reign in excessive oil price speculation.

Grassley says it the "right thing" to further regulate oil speculating but he says Congress needs a much more balanced approach including more U.S. oil exploration and development; greater conservation and more use of alternative fuels including ethanol. Much of the nation's ethanol production comes from corn grown in Grassley's home state.

Listen: Sen. Grassley talks to CNN Radio

Democratic Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, one of the main sponsors of the bill to stop excessive oil price speculating, estimates that "as much as 20 to 30 to 40 percent of the current price could be taken off if you got rid of excessive speculation."


Filed under: Congress
soundoff (75 Responses)
  1. California Gold

    Tell ya what Congressional disbelievers, why not approve a crackdown on oil speculators and see if there is a drop in oil prices. It's better than doing nothing.

    July 22, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  2. Abby

    Well, the republicans won’t go for it because it will anger their friends at Wall Street

    July 22, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  3. Capt. Smash, Salt Lake City, Utah

    Crackdown on oil price speculators; does this include the members of the Bush Crime Family. There speculation in the Iraqi oil fields and the ocupation of a foriegn country.

    July 22, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  4. Abby

    The republicans would rather offer gimmicks ( gas tax holiday) or jeopardizing the environment ( more off shore drilling taht wont produce for 10 years) rather than try something that will actually work (regulate speculating) because they answer to Wall Street and the oil companies

    July 22, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  5. DJ, LA, CA

    Yes we need to improve the regulation of speculators whom are causing the prices to go up far beyond what oil should be worth.

    The U.S. and U.K. are the only 2 financial markets that allow this type of speculation to thrive. Crackdown and end the speculation...prices should get more reasonable. That along with divesting and gradually phasing-out as much oil usage as possible.

    July 22, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  6. Griff

    So does 95% of the Planet.... How is the Question?? You don't win any points for this....

    July 22, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  7. Curious

    We can place the blame for high oil prices and the bank & Mortgage crisis squarely at the feet of McBush surrogate Phil Gramm ( nation of whiners) He was the driving force in the deregulation of banks and oil industries. Gramm is the architech of McCains economic & tax plans. God help the USA if Gramms is still advising McLame!

    July 22, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  8. jason, tx

    ARGH! Republicans make me soooo mad. Just do it. See what happens, and then take action if it doesn't work... oh wait, Republicans are only good at war and destroying our economy, not at fixing anything...

    July 22, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  9. e.c.coleman

    GREAT IDEA!!!! Best Idea the Democrats have come up with since the Party began. It is an outrage that these people are fueling the price of oil/gas at the cost of their fellow American citizen. Should be prohibited by Federal Law.

    July 22, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  10. Jim in Orlando

    What a joke. We are going to "clamp down" on a global commodity. Yeah. That'll fix things. Hey, maybe we can tell them to lower the prices or we'll stop buying oil !! That should scare them good, huh !Clueless Democrats followed by their clueless lemmings.

    July 22, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  11. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Developing more alternate energy sources is the solution. Cracking down on oil speculators is not the answer. Just the mentioned of alternate energy sources dropped the price of oil almost $15 dollars a barrel. Just imagine if we started developing alternative energy sources tomorrow?

    July 22, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  12. MikeH

    Let's see if the Democrats have the gonads to actually pull this off.

    July 22, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  13. Michael

    Put a crackdown on oil, yes that's good. But democrats are just doing this so we don't have to drill for more oil. Democrats are wrong. Vote Republican for your Representatives, Governors and Senators if their seats are up for grabs, and vote John McCain on November 4th.

    McCain/Romney '08

    July 22, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  14. White/female/age 55/Texan

    Giant oil industry lobbiest would be against anything that would bring down the price of oil and of course they would be for getting as many oil leases as possible (even though the current price of oil should make it very lucrative to begin exploration on some of the leases they already have, but I digress). So which party do you believe is most influenced (past and present) by the oil company lobbiest? It is hard to believe that the Republicans really have the best interest of the country at heart.

    July 22, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  15. no no no!

    well ther goes Phil Gramm's ENRON loop hole...boy McCain aint going to be able to see straight

    July 22, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  16. Peeved

    Republican Senate leaders — terrified by the prospect of losing five or more seats in November — have freed their members to vote however they need to vote to get reelected, even if that means bucking the president or the party’s leadership.

    On at least four votes over the past month — Medicare, housing, the GI Bill and the Farm Bill — Republican leaders haven’t even bothered whipping members to toe the party line or back President Bush’s veto threats. Instead, a GOP leadership aide says leaders have told vulnerable senators that it’s all right to “get well” with voters by siding with Democrats on anything but energy and national security.

    It’s unusual for rank-and-file members to get a green light to blow off their party leaders. But these are unusual times for Republicans. They are genuinely worried they could get their clocks cleaned in November. The prevailing attitude: It is better to lose some big votes now than big races in November.

    This is the payback to the Reps forgetting that they are public servants elected by the people to govern on the citizens behalf.

    July 22, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  17. Richard

    This is such a crime. The gas prices here in Germany have not changed so why have Americas??

    I thought it was supply and demand??? NOPE.. PRICE FIXING!

    July 22, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  18. JJ

    Cracking down will mean taking money out of the Republicans pockets including Bush and his crime allies. The Dems can talk until the sun comes up but nothing will ever happen because Bush will not even hear of such a sensible thing. Save your breath!

    July 22, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  19. Vote Nader

    "...as much as 20 to 30 to 40 percent of the current price could be taken off if you got rid of excessive speculation." – Sen. Dorgan

    I think you're making this stuff up as you speak. Anyone can say "as much as" and "could" about anything they propose. Any hard evidence to back this up?

    ** Nader/Gonzalez 2008 **

    July 22, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  20. Lourdes

    Do it. If it doesn't work, then we know. At least it won't take decades to see the results, as with drilling.

    July 22, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  21. Dan , TX

    Leave the speculators alone, that's the American way. Drill for oil – but what is the limiting factor there. There's plenty of oil all over America, why drill in ANWR and off the coasts. We have all the oil we need in North Dakota and Montana, no need to drill in these other places. It is refinery capacity, not oil that is limiting.

    July 22, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  22. Mike from Westchester

    End the Enron trading loophole, accelerate development and use of solar, geothermal, wind. Find new technologies. Promote conservation. Increase CAFE standards. Drill in areas already approved. Then, after all these options have been fully explored, we can consider if nuclear or expanded drilling is necessary.

    Let's wait for some selfish, unpatriotic fools to protest about having to "downsize" their lives. The sacrifices we need to make to get us past these problems should be shared across our population, not just shouldered by military families and a few others or left for our children and grandchildren.

    Just remember, Americans are fighting and dying in Iraq and Afghanistan, in no small part, to support your right to drive a gas guzzler. No one who drives an SUV (unless truly necessary) should comment about more drilling – you are the problem.

    July 22, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  23. Mrs.L

    people its I before E except after C

    How many of you that blog here are adults?

    July 22, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  24. McCain is still Running?

    Does anyone believe that if there is any appreciable oil to be had on the coasts of this country it would still be there? The people of this country would cut off their hands if there was profit to be had from doing it. This argument is pointless.

    July 22, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  25. ProudToBeDemocrat

    It no brainer to republicans will oppose crackdown on oil price speculators they are the speculators.

    July 22, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
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