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 BrownDem senator: Trump 'seems more rattled than usual' GOP rep: If Mueller had found collusion, ‘investigation would have wrapped up very quickly’ O’Rourke is fireball, but not all Dems are sold MORE (D-Ohio), Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinOvernight Defense: Senate moves toward vote on bill ending support for Saudi war | House GOP blocks Yemen war votes for rest of year | Trump throws uncertainty into Pentagon budget | Key Dem to leave transgender troop ban to courts George H.W. Bush remembered at Kennedy Center Honors Democratic senator: US must maintain strategic relationship with Saudis and hold them accountable MORE (D-Md.), Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenCongress sends bill overhauling sexual harassment policy to Trump's desk Senate approves bill reforming Congress's sexual harassment policy Kamala Harris to keep seat on Judiciary Committee MORE (D-Minn.), Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharSenate Dems urge Trump to continue nuclear arms control negotiations after treaty suspension Senate approves bill reforming Congress's sexual harassment policy The Year Ahead: Push for privacy bill gains new momentum MORE (D-Minn.) and Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonMcCaskill: 'Too many embarrassing uncles' in the Senate Bill Nelson uses farewell address to remind colleagues ‘no one person is above the law’ Coal supporter Manchin named top Dem on Senate Energy Committee 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.