Members of the Senate Commerce Committee deadlocked Wednesday on advancing legislation to combat gas price gouging, with members voting 14-14 on the Transportation Fuel Market Transparency Act.
The Senate bill is similar to H.R. 7688, the Democratic anti-price gouging bill that cleared the House last week. Much like that bill, the Senate legislation also seeks to create greater transparency around gas prices and would give the Federal Trade Commission additional authority to monitor and crack down on allegations of price gouging by energy companies. Democrats have rallied around the anti-gouging legislation in response to record gas prices, which have dragged them down in the polls and which Republicans have blamed on their energy policies.
The bill would also require the U.S. Energy Information Administration to publish more information about markets to help ensure fair competition and transparency.
Senate Commerce Committee Chairwoman Maria Cantwell (D-WA) said of the legislation: "Congress has given the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [oversight] of the commodities future trading commission and the ability to police bad actors, so that they can be caught and punished, but we also need a policeman on the beat as it relates to the transportation fuel market."
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But unlike the House bill, the Senate effort is all but certain to stall in the evenly divided chamber, as it would require the support of at least 10 Republicans, who have sharply disapproved of the measure.
Still, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has vowed to force a vote on the bill as a means of putting Republicans on record and tying them to the high prices.