By Ben Geman - 03/27/12 01:10 PM EDT
“Millions of American consumers are hurting as a result of excessive speculation on the oil futures market, and the future of our economy hangs in the balance,” Sanders said in a statement last week.
The criticism has intensified amid the run-up in gasoline prices, which according to AAA now average $3.90 per gallon nationwide. Sanders’s co-sponsors on the amendment include Sens. Richard BlumenthalRichard BlumenthalOvernight Cybersecurity: Cyber questions for the debate | Dem wants Yahoo hack probe Takata says it failed to report airbag rupture in 2003 Dem senator urges SEC to investigate Yahoo MORE (D-Conn.), Dianne FeinsteinDianne FeinsteinThis week: Shutdown deadline looms over Congress Week ahead: Election hacks, Yahoo breach in the spotlight Overnight Tech: Pressure builds ahead of TV box vote | Intel Dems warn about Russian election hacks | Spending bill doesn't include internet measure MORE (D-Calif.), Jon TesterJon TesterOvernight Healthcare: Mylan CEO to defend record on EpiPens | Medical cures bill delayed to lame duck | House GOP hopeful about Zika deal Tribes open new front in fight over pipelines Dem lawmakers: Clinton should have disclosed illness sooner MORE (D-Mont.) and Claire McCaskillClaire McCaskillFacebook steps up fight against fake news The Trail 2016: Off the sick bed McCaskill: Trump and Dr. Oz a 'marriage made in heaven' MORE (D-Mo.). Tester and McCaskill are running for reelection and are among the Senate Democrats most at risk of losing their seat in November, according to The Hill’s race ratings.
The amendment is one of a number that lawmakers will seek to attach to the oil tax break repeal bill.
Almost all Republicans oppose the underlying bill, which stands almost no chance of passage. But most voted Monday evening to allow debate to proceed on the measure.
Republicans say they welcome a chance to have a wide-ranging energy policy battle with Democrats. But the number of amendments that may receive votes, and which ones might be debated, remains unclear.
Sen. John HoevenJohn HoevenOvernight Defense: White House threatens to veto Gitmo bill GOP senators fight female draft in defense bill Majority of GOP senators to attend Trump convention MORE (R-N.D.) told reporters in the Capitol on Monday evening that Republicans are planning various amendments aimed at boosting energy supplies.
“We actually have a whole range of amendments we could bring up,” Hoeven said after the 92-4 vote that allowed the bill to move
“It could be something like infrastructure, like Keystone,” he said of the Keystone XL oil pipeline project that Republicans are pushing. “It could be something like expanded access both onshore and offshore, it could be expedited permitting — all of these things will help us produce more energy.”