House Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) spoke out at the House Rules Committee today on H.R. 7688, the Socialist Energy Price Fixing Act.

The Socialist Energy Price Fixing Act would give President Biden power to declare an energy emergency, arming the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) with tools to impose de-facto, arbitrary caps on the price of gas. These socialist price controls are not the answer and will lead to even less oil and gas production at a time where we desperately need to increase both.

Excerpts and highlights from her prepared remarks:

CRISIS AND DISTRACTION

“America is in crisis. Store shelves are empty. New mothers can’t find formula for their babies. Overdose deaths continue to rise as deadly fentanyl pours across our southern border. Inflation is out of control and gas prices continue to reach record levels.

“Yet here we are again in the Rules Committee, rushing through the Democrats’ latest attempt to impose socialist price controls on our economy instead of taking responsibility for their actions.

“We should be doing the hard work of legislating to fix these issues and to reverse the damage of reckless spending and President Biden’s actions to shut down domestic energy production.

“Time and again, the Democrats’ answer to President Biden’s inflation crisis is more government control, more government spending, and less freedom.”

SOCIALIST PRICE CONTROLS

“The disastrous consequences these socialist price controls will have are not hypothetical, because we have seen them before.

“Similar policies were used by Soviet Russia, Venezuela, North Korea and other Communist dictatorships. They led to massive shortages in goods, which resulted in economic and humanitarian devastation.

“The United States even tried to control high gas prices and inflation through price controls in the 1970s. This led to the shortages, rationing, and mile long gas lines many of us remember from the Carter years and made us dangerously reliant on OPEC.

“The 1970s appear to be here again. The Democrats are following the lead of Soviet Russia and Venezuela and failing to learn from our own history.

“It’s a deliberate, irresponsible attempt to distract the American people from their tax and spend agenda and the Biden administration’s war on American energy that has put us in this position without regard for the devastating consequences their policies will have for the American people.”

WAR ON AMERICAN ENERGY

“Meanwhile, President Biden is continuing full steam ahead with his radical anti-American energy agenda.

“In March 2020, Candidate Joe Biden said quote ‘No more subsidies for fossil fuel industry. No more drilling on federal lands. No more drilling, including offshore. No ability for the oil industry to continue to drill, period.’

“President Biden put in place a moratorium on new drilling.

“In May 2020, Candidate Joe Biden pledged to stop the Keystone XL pipeline, and he did so on Day 1.

“Just last week, he canceled lease sales for millions of acres for oil and gas production in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico.

“Republicans have been sounding the alarm for over a year about the disastrous affect these policies would have on energy and gas prices and we are seeing the direct result of them today.

“Gas prices have gone up every day of this administration.”

FLIP THE SWITCH

“I am co-leading the American Energy Independence from Russia Act with Natural Resources Republican Leader Bruce Westerman.

“To lower prices and protect our national security, it flips the switch on American energy and unleashes production. It removes all barriers to U.S. LNG exports and it unlocks America’s energy potential by requiring leasing and permitting of energy and minerals development on Federal lands and waters. It also would immediately approve the Keystone XL pipeline; and force the DOE Secretary to have a plan to increase domestic production before allowing any more non-emergency withdrawals from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

“Democrats have now blocked this five times. That’s five times they’ve denied increasing our domestic production to lower costs and boost energy exports to help our allies counter Russian aggression.”

SHIFTING BLAME

“Instead of doing what is necessary to meet energy demands, President Biden and Congressional Democrats are trying to shift blame to ‘price gouging’ for these record high prices.

“First, the administration tried blaming Putin – they called it the ‘Putin Price Hike.’ But anyone who has been filling up their tanks since last January knows this is not true.

“The average gas price when President Biden took office was $2.38 and it climbed over a dollar more a gallon well before the invasion.

“The American people are too smart and have not fallen for this. So, the President is now shifting blame to the industry alleging price gouging.

“Unless you ask his Energy Secretary who said in an Energy and Commerce hearing quote, ‘I’m not sure anyone is saying there is wholesale gouging.’

“That was just hours after Democrats announced their plans to introduce this legislation before us today.

“Regardless of Democrats not keeping their talking points straight, this price gouging conspiracy is nothing new.

“The Federal Trade Commission has investigated price gouging in oil and gas markets on and off for over a hundred years. It has never found systemic price gouging. Instead, they found higher prices are attributable to supply and demand.

“Americans are experiencing higher prices for virtually every single good and service, including gasoline.

“This is not because of some grand conspiracy that companies have suddenly decided to charge unaffordable prices. It is because of the Democrats’ out-of-control spending and regulations that have created an inflation crisis and devastated our supply chains.

“And the Democrats are not stopping with gas prices. Senator Warren and several House Members have just introduced legislation that would impose these price controls over our entire economy.

“Under the Democrats’ radical socialist agenda, the gas lines of the 1970s and the bread lines of Communist Russia and Venezuela will become reality in the United States of America.

“This is unacceptable and should be unthinkable.”

PROMISE OF AMERICA

“We’ve done more to lift people out of poverty, raise the standard of living than any nation in the history of the world.

“That is the promise of America.

“Free enterprise — not socialism — is the proven and best way to restore prosperity and optimism for the hardworking people of this country again.

“I urge my colleagues to stop this madness, abandon this socialist agenda, and work with us to unleash American energy.”

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