Democrats are pushing back against proposed offshore drilling by accusing hedge funds of driving up prices by speculating irresponsibly on futures markets—and accusing the GOP of aiding them in doing so.
Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) said he raised the speculation issue in a leadership meeting on Tuesday morning and plans to introduce legislation Thursday to “ring out” hedge fund speculation.
The stand-alone bill relies on a provision that was part of an earlier effort that included a windfall-profits tax but failed to get cloture. The bill would require that the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission “distinguish between what is commercial and what is speculative trading and then to treat the speculative trading in a different way, with higher [required] margins, to try to ring the speculation out of this market,” said Dorgan. By increasing the required margins, the bill would theoretically reduce the capacity of hedge funds to speculate in oil.
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