President Obama is urging Congress to bolster efforts to better regulate oil markets. On Tuesday, he asked Congress to approve a $52 million plan that includes a six-fold increase for enforcement staff at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. In addition to putting “more cops on the beat” to oversee the oil market, the president wants to give the CFTC the authority to enforce stricter penalties for businesses that manipulate the oil market, and his plan would fund new technology to provide oversight of the oil market.
“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 explained.
Proponents of the president’s plan argue that speculators manipulate the oil market to make huge profit while Americans suffer because of the high prices at the pump. They see the increase of CFTC staff and stronger penalties as a good first step to regulate and lower gas prices.
Opponents of the legislation see Obama’s plan as an expensive way to control a free market, and they argue that it will have no effect on gas prices. They say that allowing politics to take over the oil market would be a mistake and that extended CFTC influence would damage the credibility of the market.
Will Obama’s plan to enforce oil market regulations lower gas prices? Here’s the Debate Club’s take:
Daniel J. Weiss Senior Fellow and Director of Climate Strategy for the Center for American Progress Action Fund
Andrew Holland Senior Fellow for Energy and Climate at the American Security Project
Edward J. Markey U.S. Representative