Food and Energy Prices
Unpredictable energy prices continue to take a tremendous toll on millions of American consumers and businesses. There is strong evidence that price swings in oil and other important commodities are not just the result of supply and demand, but of the actions of speculators, traders making short-term bets on the direction of a market. As chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, I have investigated the role of speculators in commodities training. Our investigation contributed to a clampdown on excessive speculation and price manipulation, but the American economy continues to be vulnerable to wild, speculative price swings affecting the prices of food and energy.
The Dodd-Frank Act will help restrict some of this speculation and help produce more stable prices for families and businesses. I continue to work with federal regulators to implement those protections.
In 2009, I introduced the Prevent Excessive Speculation Act, which seeks to curb the excesses of speculators. This legislation would close the loopholes in our commodities laws that now impede the policing of U.S. energy trades on foreign exchanges and in the unregulated over-the-counter market; ensure that large commodity traders cannot use these markets to hide from regulatory oversight or avoid limits on excessive speculation; and strengthen disclosure, oversight, and enforcement in U.S. energy markets, restoring the financial oversight that is crucial to protect American consumers, American businesses, and the U.S. economy from further energy shocks.
Senator Levin’s Record on Food and Energy Prices
- April 13, 2012 – Sen. Levin fights oil speculation, high gas prices
Sen. Levin is one of 19 U.S. senators who file an amicus brief in federal court to support commodities regulators in establishing trading limits on speculators who contribute to the volatility in oil and gas prices.
- March 26, 2012 – Sen. Levin speaks out against oil speculation
In a Senate floor speech based on information developed by the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Sen. Levin cites evidence that speculators are overwhelming the market for oil, gas and other commodities, calls for the establishment of trading limits on speculators as required in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform legislation, and calls for stronger actions to protect consumers and businesses from the impact of speculation on oil prices.
- Jan. 26, 2012 – Levin criticizes IRS role in boosting commodities speculators
At a Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations hearing, Sen. Levin outlines how the IRS, through a series of private rulings, has allowed mutual funds to skirt legal limits on commodities trading and contributed to the market speculation that increases prices for oil and other commodities.
- Nov. 3, 2011 -- Levin calls for action to stop commodity speculators
Sen. Levin chairs a hearing of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations into how speculators in commodity markets can skew the prices for important commodities, harming consumers and damaging economic recovery. He calls on the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to aggressively implement limits on speculation that are included in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform legislation.
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