Sanders bill would force CFTC's hand in effort to lower gas prices

The legislation is co-sponsored by Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownOvernight Finance: Mulvaney remark on lobbyists stuns Washington | Macron takes swipe at Trump tariffs | Conservatives eye tax cut on capital gains | Gillibrand unveils post office banking bill | GOP chairman pushes banks on gun policies Top banking Dem calls for Mulvaney to resign after lobbyist remarks Senator offers new details on allegations against VA nominee MORE (D-Ohio), Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinSenators debate new business deduction, debt in tax law hearing The Hill's 12:30 Report Dems give muted praise to Pompeo-Kim meeting MORE (D-Md.), Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenDems look to keep up momentum in upcoming special elections Franken to make first public appearance since resignation Overnight Cybersecurity: Fallout from Comey memos | IG reportedly investigating memos over classified info | DNC sues Russia, Trump campaign | GOP chair blasts FDIC over data security MORE (D-Minn.), Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharOvernight Tech: Sparks fly as Diamond and Silk testify | EU proposes new rules for internet companies | FTC back at full strength Ivanka Trump talks skills training legislation with senators, CEOs GOP moves to cut debate time for Trump nominees MORE (D-Minn.) and Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonSenate Dems call on FCC chair to hold off on media ownership efforts Senate confirms Pompeo as Trump's new secretary of State Tucker Carlson criticizes GOP for campaigning against Clinton: She ‘doesn’t run anything’ MORE (D-Fla.).

The senators argued that the CFTC has been “dragging its feet” in establishing
“position limits” on the amount of futures and swaps contracts for oil and other commodities that traders may hold. The limits are required under the sweeping 2010 financial reform law.

Democrats have increasingly blamed “excessive” speculation for rising gas prices to counter GOP attacks on President Obama’s energy plan.

A coalition of Democrats, 23 senators and 45 House members, urged the CFTC earlier this month to put limits on speculative trading.

“It is one of your primary duties — indeed, perhaps your most important — to ensure that the prices Americans pay for gasoline and heating oil are fair, and that the markets in which prices are discovered operate free from fraud, abuse and manipulation,” the lawmakers said in a letter.

Pump prices have risen to the top of the political agenda in Washington, D.C. Gas prices increased to a national average of $3.86 per gallon Wednesday, according to AAA — up 30 cents during the last month.

Republicans have sought to pin the blame for high gas prices on Democrats, arguing they have not done enough to expand domestic oil-and-gas production.

Energy experts say federal policymakers have limited options to lower gas prices, as they are tethered to oil prices, which are set on world markets.