Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor on the need to take action this week to confirm more of President Biden’s nominees and working to help lower costs for the American people. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:
As we begin this five week work period, Senate Democrats’ focus will remain the same as it has been since last year: fighting inflation and lowering costs for American families.
At times, we will pursue this goal through legislation, as has been the case with our competition bill, with legislation to reform shipping practices that we passed recently, or finding ways to lower prescription drug costs.
And to that end, today the Agriculture Committee is also holding a hearing on legislation to improve transparency in meat prices.
In addition to legislation, Senate Democrats will also help lower costs by confirming the right people to serve in the federal government.
On that note we will aim today to finish the confirmation of Lael Brainard to serve as Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.
the Senate will also work to confirm another very important nominee: Mr. Alvaro
Bedoya, to serve as
a Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission.
Of all the agencies in the Federal Government, the FTC is among the best equipped for protecting Americans from price gougers, manipulators, and those trying to rip off American consumers.
Or at least the FTC would be, if it had full membership.
But sadly, the FTC has been stuck at a 2-2 deadlock for well over a year, rendering it incapable of executing the full breadth of its agenda. We've had two Democrats, two Republicans; the Republican members have resisted going after big oil and so many of the other excesses of corporate America.
And who pays the price? In a very literal sense its American consumers as they see prices rise on everything from groceries to the number that pops up every time they fill up their tank.
But the story is grossly different in corporate America, and an FTC with full membership could shine a light as to why.
While Americans across the board are making sacrifices to support themselves and their families, Corporate America is raking in record profits.
As one article from Yahoo! Finance summarized earlier this year: Corporate America’s 2021 profits were higher than ever.
Corporate America’s profits were higher than ever.
Perhaps no sector has evoked more frustration and anger from the American people as the largest oil and gas companies and the prices they are charging.
Last year the top 25 oil and gas companies reported $205 billion in profits.
Where has that money gone? To help American consumers? No way. To ease our energy troubles? Not at all.
According to one news source yesterday, twenty eight of the largest oil and gas companies gave out $394 million in CEO compensation. And in the fourth quarter last year, stock buybacks among these companies rose by more than two thousand percent. Two thousand percent. All this extra money they're making, they put in the pockets of the CEOs and the wealthy shareholders who dominate in the oil company ownership.
Just think about that. Americans are paying more and more at the pump and struggling to afford the basics.
And oil companies, which are seeing their highest profits in years, prefer to reward executives and shareholders through corporate buybacks instead of American families.
Once we have an FTC with full membership, they will finally have the will, the means, and the power to look under the hood of America’s energy sector and shine a much-needed light on why big oil is pumping out record profits even as consumers struggle.
So completing the membership of the FTC will be a priority, and we will work to finish the confirmation on Mr. Bedoya as soon as we can.