| Home > 105th Congressional Bills > H.R. 1222 (ih) To amend the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 and the Public Health Service Act to require managed care group health plans and managed care health insurance coverage to meet certain consumer protection requirements. %%Filenam...
H.R. 1222 (ih) To amend the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 and the Public Health Service Act to require managed care group health plans and managed care health insurance coverage to meet certain consumer protection requirements. %%Filenam...
108th CONGRESS 1st Session H. R. 1221 To provide for the stabilization of prices for gasoline, and for other purposes. _______________________________________________________________________ IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES March 12, 2003 Mr. DeFazio (for himself, Ms. Kaptur, and Mr. Sanders) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and in addition to the Committees on International Relations, Ways and Means, and Resources, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned _______________________________________________________________________ A BILL To provide for the stabilization of prices for gasoline, and for other purposes. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE. This Act may be cited as the ``Gasoline Price Stabilization Act of 2003''. SEC. 2. AUTHORIZATION FOR PRICE STABILIZATION. (a) Presidential Authority.--The President is authorized to issue such orders and regulations as he may deem appropriate, including price caps, to stabilize prices for wholesale and retail gasoline to levels at or below levels prevailing on March 1, 2002. (b) Penalty.--Whoever willfully violates any order or regulation issued under this section shall be fined $1,000,000 per violation. (c) Injunctions.--Whenever it appears to any agency of the United States, authorized by the President to exercise the authority contained in this subsection to enforce orders and regulations issued under this section, that any person has engaged, is engaged, or is about to engage in any acts or practices constituting a violation of any regulation or order under this section, it may in its discretion bring an action, in the proper district court of the United States or the proper United States court of any territory or other place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, to enjoin such acts or practices, and upon a proper showing a permanent or temporary injunction or restraining order shall be granted without bond. Upon application of the agency, any such court may also issue mandatory injunctions commanding any person to comply with any regulation or order under this section. (d) Expiration.-- (1) In general.--Except as provided in paragraph (2), this section shall cease to have effect 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act. (2) Exception.--Paragraph (1) shall not affect enforcement relating to a violation of this section occurring before the expiration date in paragraph (1). SEC. 3. STRATEGIC PETROLEUM RESERVE DRAWDOWN. (a) Drawdowns Authorized To Address State or Regional Economic Harm.--Section 161(d)(2)(C) of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (42 U.S.C. 6241(d)(2)(C)) is amended by inserting ``, or on a State or regional economy'' after ``national economy''. (b) Drawdowns Authorized To Combat Anti-Competitive Conduct.-- Section 161(d) of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (42 U.S.C. 6241(d)) is further amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph: ``(3) Reduction in supply caused by anticompetitive conduct.-- ``(A) In general.--For the purposes of this section, in addition to the circumstances set forth in section 3(8) and in paragraph (2) of this subsection, a severe energy supply interruption shall be deemed to exist if the President determines that-- ``(i) there is a significant reduction in supply that-- ``(I) is of significant scope and duration; and ``(II) has caused a significant increase in the price of petroleum products; ``(ii) the increase in price is likely to cause a significant adverse impact on the national economy, or on a State or regional economy; and ``(iii) a substantial cause of the reduction in supply is the anticompetitive conduct of-- ``(I) 1 or more foreign countries or international entities; or ``(II) 1 or more producers, refiners, or marketers of petroleum products. ``(B) Deposit and use of proceeds.--Proceeds from the sale of petroleum drawn down pursuant to a Presidential determination under subparagraph (A) shall-- ``(i) be deposited in the SPR Petroleum Account; and ``(ii) be used only for the purposes specified in section 167.''. (c) Reporting and Consultation Requirements.--When the price of a barrel of crude oil exceeds $25 (in constant 2003 United States dollars) on the New York Mercantile Exchange for a period greater than 14 days, the President, through the Secretary of Energy, shall, not later than 30 days after the end of the 14-day period, submit to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources of the Senate and the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives a report that-- (1) states the results of a comprehensive review of the causes and potential consequences of the price increase; (2) provides an estimate of the likely duration of the price increase, based on analyses and forecasts of the Energy Information Administration; (3) provides an analysis of the effects of the price increase on the cost of gasoline at the wholesale and retail levels; and (4) states whether, and provides a specific rationale for why, the President does or does not support the drawdown and distribution of a specified amount of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. (d) General Accounting Office Study.--The Comptroller General of the United States shall, not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, transmit to the Congress a review of the drawdown authority of the President with respect to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, addressing-- (1) how and why the authority has changed over time; (2) under what circumstances Presidents have actually exercised the authority; (3) what the impact on oil prices was as a result of the exercising of the presidential authority; and (4) the implications of expanding the drawdown authority beyond the ``severe energy supply interruption'' standard, and instead allowing the release of oil as a regular hedging tool for oil companies, in which such companies could tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as necessary to dampen price shocks, but would be required to replace the oil, along with additional barrels, at some predetermined time in the future. SEC. 4. MINIMUM INVENTORY LEVELS. (a) Establishing Minimum Levels.--The Secretary of Energy shall establish minimum inventory levels that producers, refiners, and marketers of crude oil and petroleum products must maintain in order to limit the impact unexpected supply disruptions have on prices at the wholesale and retail level. (b) Different Industry Segments.--For the purposes of setting the minimum inventory levels, the Secretary may set varying levels for each segment of the oil industry as he determines appropriate. (c) Different Products.--For the purposes of setting the minimum inventory levels, the Secretary may set different levels for the various crude oil and petroleum products, including gasoline, home heating oil, and jet fuel. (d) Seasonal Adjustment.--The Secretary may propose to adjust minimum inventory levels to reflect seasonal adjustments. (e) Regional Variations.--The minimum inventory levels set by the Secretary shall take into account regional variations in supply and demand, and market structure. SEC. 5. BAN ON EXPORTING OF ALASKAN OIL. (a) Repeal of Provision Authorizing Exports.--Subsection (s) of section 28 of the Mineral Leasing Act (30 U.S.C. 185(s)) is repealed. (b) Reimposition of Prohibition on Exports.--Subsection (d) of Section 7 of the Export Administration Act of 1979 (50 U.S.C. App. 2406(d)) shall be effective as of the date of the enactment of this Act, and those provisions of the Export Administration Act of 1979 (including sections 11 and 12) shall apply to the extent necessary to carry out such section 7(d), notwithstanding section 20 of that Act and notwithstanding any other provision of law that would otherwise allow the export of oil to which such section 7(d) applies. SEC. 6. SENSE OF CONGRESS REGARDING OPEC AND THE WTO. (a) Findings.--The Congress makes the following findings: (1) No free market exists in oil production because of collusion among large oil-producing countries. (2) The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other oil-producing countries have repeatedly agreed to coordinated cutbacks in production, thus manipulating world oil markets, resulting in de facto price fixing. (3) This manipulation led to the highest price per barrel of oil in nearly a decade, substantial increases in consumer prices for items such as home heating oil and gasoline, and continued price volatility. (4) Rising oil prices greatly harm consumers, farmers, small businesses, and manufacturers, increase the likelihood of inflation, increase the cost of conducting interstate and international commerce, and pose a strong threat to continued economic growth. (5) Article XI of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT 1994) prohibits members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) from setting quantitative restrictions on the import or export of resources or products across their borders; specifically the language reads: ``No prohibitions or restrictions other than duties, taxes or other charges, whether made effective through quotas, import or export licenses or other measures, shall be instituted or maintained by any contracting party on the importation of any product of the territory of any other contracting party or on the exportation or sale for export of any product destined for the territory of any other contracting party.''. (6) The precise meaning of this provision was spelled out in a GATT Panel Report issued in 1988 entitled ``Japan--Trade in Semi-conductors', which noted, ``. . . this wording [in article XI] was comprehensive: it applied to all measures instituted or maintained by a contracting party prohibiting or restricting the importation, exportation or sale for export of products other than measures that take the form of duties, taxes, or other charges. . . . This wording indicated clearly that any measure instituted or maintained by a contracting party which restricted the exportation or sale for export of products was covered by this provision, irrespective of the legal status of the measure.''. (7) Oil production restrictions clearly qualify as a ``quantitative restriction'' based on the original WTO rules and the 1988 GATT panel report, which certify that only ``duties, taxes or other charges'' are allowable, not pacts among countries to limit production of a product for export. (8) Article XX of GATT 1994, which sets out a series of exceptions to article XI, notes that none of the exceptions are valid if they are ``applied in a manner which would constitute . . . a disguised restriction on international trade'', a phrase which describes OPEC's production restrictions. (9) Of the 11 OPEC countries, 6 are members of the WTO (Kuwait, Indonesia, Nigeria, Qatar, Venezuela, and United Arab Emirates), 2 have observer status and have applied to join the WTO (Saudi Arabia and Algeria), and only 3 have no relationship with the WTO (Libya, Iran, and Iraq). (10) Of the remaining large oil-producing countries, Mexico and Norway are members of the WTO, and Russia and Oman have applied for membership. (11) Given the substantial WTO membership and pending membership of oil-producing countries, filing a complaint would likely have an immediate impact on the current and future behavior of these countries. (b) Sense of Congress.--The Congress strongly urges the President to instruct the United States Representative to the World Trade Organization to file a complaint in the World Trade Organization against oil-producing countries for violating their obligations under the rules of that organization. <all>
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