05.21.08

Hearing On “Exploring The Skyrocketing Price Of Oil”

I thank the witnesses for being here today.  And some of you, to your credit, were more forthcoming than others in answering the questions on both sides of the aisle.  Of course, the bottom line is very simple:  People we represent are hurting.  Your companies, the foreign oil interests, are profiting.  And we need to get this somehow into balance.

I think the price of oil has to reflect market fundamentals.  If oil returns to $35 to $65 a barrel, as some of you have said, then we could bring gas prices back to competitive levels.  We look at the past profits of oil companies and what they're making on previously discovered oil; oil that was very profitable for them at $55 to $65 a barrel is obviously making them windfall profits at $130 a barrel.

And I think for any of the oil companies to come here, and, as your ads suggest and in some of the testimony today, to play the victim is extraordinary.  The American people are the victims.

Billions of dollars are paid by Americans to oil companies every year to put gasoline in their cars, to heat their homes, to run their businesses.  And skyrocketing oil prices hurt these consumers, but it's also hurting our nation's economy and, thus, its security.

And despite your opposition, the administration should support the NOPEC bill, as the majority of Republicans and Democrats in the Congress have.

When OPEC countries commercially set the limit of output of oil, this government, on behalf of all Americans, ought to be able to go after them as it could any other cartel.  The president vetoed the bill to close the Enron loophole.  I hope that that will be overridden.

The $36 billion that your companies reported in the first three months of this year were drawn directly from the exorbitant amounts of money Americans are paying at the pump.  It's wrong.  As we heard from other senators here today, it just doesn't seem fair.

I thank Senator Durbin.  For some of you who were not able to remember how much you make, I'm glad that Senator Durbin reminded you.

But I thank you for your testimony.  You've been here on Capitol Hill a lot.  It is probably not the thing you enjoy the most.  I thank you for being here.

We stand in recess.

# # # # #

Press Contact

David Carle: 202-224-3693