UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

July 1, 2009

GOP BLOCKS EFFORT TO CURB OIL PRICE SPECULATION

Senate Republicans have blocked consideration of an amendment by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to require federal regulators to use emergency powers to curb oil price speculation. "What are they afraid of? Who are they trying to protect?"� Sanders asked.

"There is mounting evidence that the run-up in oil prices has little to do with the fundamentals of supply and demand and everything to do with excessive speculation by some of the same Wall Street firms that received the largest taxpayer bailout in the history of the world,"� Sanders said. "They're back,"� he warned.

"Not having caused enough damage driving our country and much of the world into a deep recession, now they're back into their speculation games jacking-up oil prices which are having an enormously negative impact on consumers all over our country,"� he added.

The amendment would require the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to use emergency powers to prevent the manipulation of oil prices.

Among the Wall Street firms that stand to benefit by unregulated speculation is Goldman Sachs, the leading trader of oil and gas derivatives in the United States. The Guardian reported on Sunday that "staff at Goldman Sachs can look forward to the biggest bonus payouts in the firm's 140-year history after a spectacular first half of the year."�

Sanders' amendment was cosponsored by Sens. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Mark Begich (D-Alaska). The House of Representatives last July passed an identical bill by a vote of 402 to 19, but it did not become law.

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