Reid working with White House on bill to boost oil market oversight

Reid gave no timeline for bringing the legislation to the floor, but he said it likely won’t come up during this work period, which ends April 30.

The majority leader also blasted Republicans for opposing Obama’s plan to improve oversight of energy markets.

“While obstruction remains the Republicans’ top priority, it’s followed closely by throwing a lot of kisses to the wealthiest Americans, defending the big oil companies, even defending the oil speculators who continue having nothing short of fraud to drive up the prices of oil,” Reid said.

Obama used a Rose Garden speech Tuesday to lay out his plan to ensure speculators aren’t manipulating oil futures markets.

“We can’t afford a situation where speculators artificially manipulate markets by buying up oil, creating the perception of a shortage, and driving prices higher, only to flip the oil for a quick profit,” Obama said.

“We can’t afford a situation where some speculators can reap millions, while millions of American families get the short end of the stick.”

Obama’s plan would, among other things, boost funding and resources at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the federal agency responsible for monitoring energy futures markets.

Republicans quickly dismissed the plan Tuesday, casting it as a political gimmick.

“The things that the president, the Democrats are focused on right now, whether it’s the Buffett tax or a lot of these failed energy ideas, will do nothing to lower the price per gallon of gasoline for people in this country, nothing to create a single job, and nothing to reduce the debt,” Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) told reporters Tuesday.

GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney had similar sentiments.

“President Obama’s government by gimmick is reaching another new low today,” Romney said in a statement. “While American families struggle to pay gas prices that have doubled on his watch, the President’s only solutions are to target oil and gas producers for higher taxes and now to dramatically increase federal regulation.”

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