Lawmakers call for ‘urgent’ action on propane prices

Vermont lawmakers called on the administration to limit propane exports in an effort to reduce prices for the home heating fuel.

In a letter this weekend, Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Trail 2016: Digging up dirt LA mayor: 'Donald Trump will not win California' Our political leaders need to set examples of reasonable conduct MORE (I-Vt.) and Patrick LeahyPatrick LeahyGrassley hints at changes on email privacy reform Stick to the facts on the Cuba travel ban 19 months before deadline, lawmakers draw battle lines on spying powers MORE (D-Vt.) and Rep. Peter WelchPeter WelchOvernight Defense: Senate panel approves 2B defense bill Lawmakers push for ISIS war measure in defense bill Lawmakers urge Obama not to send shoulder-fired missiles to Syria MORE (D-Vt.) asked Department of Commerce Secretary Penny PritzkerPenny PritzkerOvernight Cybersecurity: Obama signs trade secrets bill Overnight Finance: Trump now open to raising minimum wage Pritzker urges passage of trade deals to boost US exports MORE to use her emergency powers to temporarily halt exports of propane.

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“We urge you to act quickly to temporarily restrict propane exports to increase the domestic supply of propane, which will help reduce the financial burden on poor and middle-class families across the country during this particularly cold winter,” the letter stated.

The Northeast has been slammed by extreme cold weather this season, causing propane prices to skyrocket as demand increases.

The lawmakers said domestic propane prices are 60 percent higher this winter than they were last winter.

The Department of Commerce has authority under the International Economic Emergency Powers Act to prohibit or limit exports when necessary to “protect the domestic economy.” Sanders, Leahy and Welch said action was clearly needed.

“The current propane crisis clearly meets those criteria, and warrants this urgent and decisive action,” the lawmakers wrote.

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