Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding Senate Democrats’ focus on lowering costs for the American people and the need to confirm President Biden’s nominee to the FTC, Alvaro Bedoya. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:
As we’ve done all along this year, Democrats are continuing to focus on lowering prices for the American people. Yesterday I met with Speaker Pelosi to discuss how both chambers can work together to address the terrible burden of rising gas prices.
It’s one of the most vexing issues for the American people. The disturbances from the pandemic and the war in Ukraine have caused gas prices to spike, and working Americans are hurting.
But you know who are not hurting? The largest oil and gas companies, who reported over $205 billion in profits in 2021 even while Americans pay more at the pump.
Solving this issue is a top priority for Democrats. A top priority. Unfortunately, the other side seems content with bemoaning rising costs day after day, without expressing any interest in actually offering solutions to the problem.
Senate Democrats are actually working to solve the problem, and we’ll continue talks with our House colleagues on legislation that can bring gas prices down. There are several options we can take.
Now, there’s a growing consensus that the federal government—especially the FTC—should investigate possible price gouging and market manipulation that might be happening among the largest oil and gas companies in the country. This is one step we are working on out of many.
Of course, any solution involving the FTC requires that the FTC have full membership to begin with. So we are also going to keep working to confirm Mr. Bedoya as the fifth FTC Commissioner, to break the 2-2 deadlock that’s lasted for over a year. It's important to note Republicans unanimously are not voting for Mr. Bedoya, and that has paralyzed the FTC even though its leadership would love to go after price gouging and market manipulation.
We’ve had a few members absent because of health issues this week, but I want to be clear that health issues will not deter us from getting Mr. Bedoya—and other important nominees like Lisa Cook—confirmed.
I urge any Republican who is truly worried about rising gas prices to drop their senseless objection to getting Mr. Bedoya confirmed. It seems they’re only covering up for the oil companies and preventing a really sharp, piercing investigation of market manipulation and price gouging.
There is something deeply wrong about seeing the largest oil companies rake in record profits while asking Americans to pay more at the pump.
That’s why we need an FTC with full membership, so it can look under the hood of America’s energy sector and drill down into why big oil is pumping out record profits as consumers struggle.
Again, I repeat to my Republican colleagues, if you care about lowering gas prices and care about looking at what the large companies, oligopolies, are doing, join us in voting Mr. Bedoya on the FTC.
A vote against him is a vote for big oil and against the American driver and consumer.