Obama, contrasting with Republicans, seeks money to confront oil market manipulation

  • Follow Business

WASHINGTON — Presi­dent Obama pushed Congress on Tuesday to give oil market regulators more muscle to deter price manipulation by speculators, the latest White House response to determined Republican attacks on administration energy policies amid high gas prices.

Obama wants Congress to strengthen federal supervision of oil markets, increase penalties for market manipulation and empower regulators to increase the amount of money energy traders are required to put behind their transactions.

“We can’t afford a situation where some speculators can reap millions while millions of American families get the short end of the stick,” Obama said at the White House.

The plan is more likely to draw sharp election-year distinctions with Republicans than have an immediate effect on prices at the pump. The measures seek to boost spending for Wall Street enforcement at a time when congressional Republicans are seeking to limit the reach of federal financial regulations.

The president’s $52 million proposal comes as Re­pub­licans have been hammering Obama on his energy policies, recognizing the political cost of high gas prices. Obama’s plan would turn the tables on Republicans by taking aim at Wall Street’s role in the oil price chain.

The president didn’t shy away from casting the issue in partisan terms, drawing attention to Republican opposition to a plan to end tax breaks for oil and gas companies.

Even before the White House announced Obama’s plans, House Speaker John Boehner called it a political ploy and criticized the president for not using authority he already has to deal with such problems.

“The president has all the tools available to him if he believes that the oil market is being manipulated,” Boehner told reporters Tuesday. “Where’s his Federal Trade Commission? Where is the SEC? He’s got agencies there. So instead of just another political gimmick, why doesn’t he put his administration to work to get to the bottom of it?”

The Securities and Exchange Commission’s duties include regulating markets.

Senior administration officials who put together the proposal would not go as far as to say that market manipulation is responsible for rising gas prices, but the officials said they wanted to curtail the ability of speculators to take unlawful advantage of oil price volatility. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss details of the plan.

“None of these steps by themselves will bring gas prices down overnight,” Obama said. “But it will prevent market manipulation and make sure we’re looking out for American consumers.

Comments (2) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
socks99 04/18/12 - 06:04 pm
The President dusts off a

The President dusts off a tired, old canard in order to cover his own guilt in ever-rising gas prices. For example, he appoints the Federal Reserve chief who, in turn, controls the value of the USD, and hence, the price of oil and gas; President Carter asked for and was given the resignation of the sitting Fed chief in 1979; Obama could do the same and appoint a Fed chief who'd uphold the value of American money.

smokeysbandit 04/18/12 - 07:38 pm
You can tell it's getting

You can tell it's getting close to election time. Why wouldn't he'd done this much sooner? Oh! that's right, he actually believes fuel prices are too cheap in the U.S. Guess it is getting hotter for him than he expected.

Back to Top
Search Augusta jobs