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 BrownThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump’s GOP feuds dominate ahead of midterms Dustbin 2020: The best Dems who surely won’t get the nomination Vulnerable Dems side with Warren in battle over consumer bureau MORE (D-Ohio), Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinBusinesses fear blowback from Russia sanctions bill Dems ask Mnuchin to probe Russian investment in state election tech Hillicon Valley: Trump officials deliver show of force on election security | Apple hits trillion | How fake Facebook groups manipulated real activists | Senate group seeks new Russia sanctions MORE (D-Md.), Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenThe Hill's Morning Report — GOP seeks to hold Trump’s gains in Midwest states Dems make history in Tuesday's primaries Tina Smith defeats former Bush ethics lawyer in Minnesota Dem primary MORE (D-Minn.), Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharThe Hill's Morning Report — GOP seeks to hold Trump’s gains in Midwest states Tina Smith defeats former Bush ethics lawyer in Minnesota Dem primary Live results: Wisconsin, Minnesota, Vermont, Connecticut hold primaries MORE (D-Minn.) and Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonDems urge tech companies to remove 3D-gun blueprints GOP looks to injure Nelson over Russia comments Election Countdown: GOP worries House majority endangered by top of ticket | Dems make history in Tuesday's primaries | Parties fight for Puerto Rican vote in Florida | GOP lawmakers plan 'Freedom Tour' 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.