WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement after the House of Representatives passed H.R. 7688, the Consumer Fuel Price Gouging Prevention Act:
“Fossil fuel companies have been raking in billions of dollars in record profits, all while raising the price of gas on working families who are struggling to get by. Today, Congress is fighting back on behalf of the American people. We’re proud to have helped the House Democratic majority pass this bill, co-led by CPC Deputy Chair Rep. Katie Porter (CA-45) and Rep. Kim Schrier (WA-08), to take on Big Oil.
“Corporate executives have tried to justify price increases as unavoidable consequences of the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, but one look at their record margins make it clear they’re using those crises as cover to pocket exorbitant windfall profits. At ExxonMobil, profits rose to $5.4 billion in the first quarter of 2022. At BP, first quarter 2022 profit reached $6.2 billion, its highest in more than a decade. Chevron more than quadrupled profit in the first quarter of 2022, raking in $6.3 billion. And still the seven largest oil and gas companies announced stock buyback programs that could total up to $41 billion this year alone, all while continuing to raise prices of everyday people who are forced to scrimp on essentials so they can fill the tank.
“But we’re putting communities over corporations, and taking back the economic power on behalf of those we serve. This bill would empower the President to declare an energy emergency and would give the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) the authority to issue penalties on companies that raise prices excessively during the emergency. It would also enhance the FTC’s authority to go after false market information designed to artificially inflate prices. Today’s vote was a hugely important step, and we thank Speaker Pelosi and House Leadership — in particular CPC members Energy & Commerce Chair Rep. Frank Pallone (NJ-06) and Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee Chair Rep. Jan Schakowsky (IL-09) — for their stewardship of Democrats’ commitment to easing the burden on working families.
“However, there is more to do. Progressives in the House and Senate have introduced legislation to tax Big Oil’s excess profits, and return that money to the people with direct payments for gas costs. This approach will ensure that not only are fossil fuel companies prevented from robbing consumers in the future, but are forced to return what they’ve already taken to the economy and to the people who need it most.
“We’ve encouraged Congressional Leadership to move these windfall profit tax proposals forward, and will continue to do so. Combining both these approaches, we have a path forward for the most urgent task facing Congress today: lowering costs for American families and delivering desperately needed economic relief.”