Thursday, May 24, 2007

House Passes Lame Gas Gouging Bill

From the AP:

WASHINGTON - The House, eager to do something about record high gasoline prices in advance of the Memorial Day weekend, voted narrowly Wednesday to approve stiff penalties for those found guilty of gasoline price gouging.

The bill directs the Federal Trade Commission and Justice Department to go after oil companies, traders or retail operators if they take “unfair advantage” or charge “unconscionably excessive” prices for gasoline and other fuels.

The White House called the measure a form of price controls that could result in fuel shortages. It said President Bush would be urged to veto the legislation should it pass Congress.


Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., its chief sponsor, in urging his colleagues to support the bill said the issue was whether “to side with Big Oil (or) ... side with consumers who are being ripped off at the gas pump.”

But Stupak was forced to soften the bill so that he could get it passed by requiring a president to first declare an energy emergency before the anti-gouging law could be enforced. Oil-state Democrats had wanted such limits.

The bill calls for criminal penalties of up to $150 million for corporations and up to $2 million and a jail sentence of up to 10 years for individuals found to be engaged in price gouging. More

Hmmm...I note that people aren't dancing in the streets. Could that be because the softening of the bill effectively renders it useless in the immediate sense? In my opinion this might have been one of those bills where sticking to your guns and having it vetoed might have dome more for the Dem's image than anything else they've done lately.

I think a several cajones transplants might be in order but I can't find that checkbox on the back of my drivers lisence.