Home > 108th Congressional Bills > S. 1193 (is) To provide for qualified withdrawals from the Capital Construction Fund for fishermen leaving the industry and for the rollover of Capital Construction Funds to individual retirement plans, and for other purposes. [Introduced in Senate] %%Fil...

S. 1193 (is) To provide for qualified withdrawals from the Capital Construction Fund for fishermen leaving the industry and for the rollover of Capital Construction Funds to individual retirement plans, and for other purposes. [Introduced in Senate] %%Fil...


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108th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                S. 1192

To establish a Consumer and Small Business Energy Commission to assess 
 and provide recommendations regarding recent energy price spikes from 
           the perspective of consumers and small businesses.


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                              June 5, 2003

  Mr. Durbin (for himself and Ms. Stabenow) introduced the following 
bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and 
                           Natural Resources

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
To establish a Consumer and Small Business Energy Commission to assess 
 and provide recommendations regarding recent energy price spikes from 
           the perspective of consumers and small businesses.

    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 ``Consumer and Small Business Energy 
Commission Act of 2003''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    Congress finds that--
            (1) there have been several sharp increases since 1990 in 
        the price of electricity, gasoline, home heating oil, natural 
        gas, and propane in the United States;
            (2) recent examples of such increases include--
                    (A) unusually high gasoline prices that are at 
                least partly attributable to global politics;
                    (B) electricity price spikes during the California 
                energy crisis of 2001; and
                    (C) the Midwest gasoline price spikes in spring 
                2001;
            (3) shifts in energy regulation, including the allowance of 
        greater flexibility in competition and trading, have affected 
        price stability and consumers in ways that are not fully 
        understood;
            (4) price spikes undermine the ability of low-income 
        families, the elderly, and small businesses (including farmers 
        and other agricultural producers) to afford essential energy 
        services and products;
            (5) energy price spikes can exacerbate a weak economy by 
        creating uncertainties that discourage investment, growth, and 
        other activities that contribute to a strong economy;
            (6) the Department of Energy has determined that the 
        economy would be likely to perform better with stable or 
        predictable energy prices;
            (7) price spikes can be caused by many factors, including 
        insufficient inventories, supply disruptions, refinery capacity 
        limits, insufficient infrastructure, over-regulation or under-
        regulation, flawed deregulation, excessive consumption, over-
        reliance on foreign supplies, insufficient research and 
        development of alternative energy sources, opportunistic 
        behavior by energy companies, and abuses of market power;
            (8) consumers and small businesses have few options other 
        than to pay higher energy costs when prices spike, resulting in 
        reduced investment and slower economic growth and job creation;
            (9) the effect of price spikes, and possible responses to 
        price spikes, on consumers and small businesses should be 
        examined; and
            (10) studies have examined price spikes of specific energy 
        products in specific contexts or for specific reasons, but no 
        study has examined price spikes comprehensively with a focus on 
        the impacts on consumers and small businesses.

SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.

    In this Act:
            (1) Commission.--The term ``Commission'' means the Consumer 
        and Small Business Energy Commission established by section 
        4(a).
            (2) Consumer energy product.--The term ``consumer energy 
        product'' means--
                    (A) electricity;
                    (B) gasoline;
                    (C) home heating oil;
                    (D) natural gas; and
                    (E) propane.
            (3) Consumer group focusing on energy issues.--The term 
        ``consumer group focusing on energy issues'' means--
                    (A) an organization that is a member of the 
                National Association of State Utility Consumer 
                Advocates;
                    (B) a nongovernmental organization representing the 
                interests of residential energy consumers; and
                    (C) a nongovernmental organization that--
                            (i) receives not more than \1/4\ of its 
                        funding from energy industries; and
                            (ii) represent the interests of energy 
                        consumers.
            (4) Energy consumer.--The term ``energy consumer'' means an 
        individual or small business that purchases 1 or more consumer 
        energy products.
            (5) Energy industry.--The term ``energy industry'' means 
        for-profit or not-for-profit entities involved in the 
        generation, selling, or buying of any energy-producing fuel 
        involved in the production or use of consumer energy products.
            (6) Executive committee.--The term ``Executive Committee'' 
        means the executive committee of the Commission.
            (7) Small business.--The term ``small business'' has the 
        meaning given the term ``small business concern'' in section 
        3(a) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 632(a)).

SEC. 4. CONSUMER ENERGY COMMISSION.

    (a) Establishment.--There is established a commission to be known 
as the ``Consumer and Small Business Energy Commission''.
    (b) Membership.--
            (1) In general.--The Commission shall be comprised of 20 
        members.
            (2) Appointments by the senate and house of 
        representatives.--The majority leader and minority leader of 
        the Senate and the Speaker and minority leader of the House of 
        Representatives shall each appoint 4 members, of whom--
                    (A) 2 shall represent consumer groups focusing on 
                energy issues;
                    (B) 1 shall represent small businesses; and
                    (C) 1 shall represent the energy industry.
            (3) Appointments by the president.--The President shall 
        appoint 1 member from each of--
                    (A) the Energy Information Administration of the 
                Department of Energy;
                    (B) the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission;
                    (C) the Federal Trade Commission; and
                    (D) the Commodities Future Trading Commission.
            (4) Date of appointments.--The appointment of a member of 
        the Commission shall be made not later than 30 days after the 
        date of enactment of this Act.
    (c) Term.--A member shall be appointed for the life of the 
Commission.
    (d) Initial Meeting.--The Commission shall hold the initial meeting 
of the Commission not later than the earlier of--
            (1) the date that is 30 days after the date on which all 
        members of the Commission have been appointed; or
            (2) the date that is 90 days after the date of enactment of 
        this Act, regardless of whether all members have been 
        appointed.
    (e) Chairperson and Vice Chairperson.--The Commission shall select 
a Chairperson and Vice Chairperson from among the members of the 
Commission, excluding the members appointed under subparagraphs (B), 
(C), and (D) of subsection (b)(3).
    (f) Executive Committee.--The Commission shall have an executive 
committee comprised of all members of the Commission except the members 
appointed under subparagraphs (B), (C), and (D) of subsection (b)(3).
    (g) Information and Administrative Expenses.--The Federal agencies 
specified in subsection (b)(3) shall provide the Commission such 
information and pay such administrative expenses as the Commission 
requires to carry out this section, consistent with the requirements 
and guidelines of the Federal Advisory Commission Act (5 U.S.C. App.).
    (h) Duties.--
            (1) Study.--
                    (A) In general.--The Commission shall conduct a 
                nationwide study of significant price spikes in major 
                United States consumer energy products since 1990.
                    (B) Matters to be studied by the commission.--In 
                conducting the study, the Commission shall--
                            (i) focus on the causes of the price 
                        spikes, including insufficient inventories, 
                        supply disruptions, refinery capacity limits, 
                        insufficient infrastructure, any over-
                        regulation or under-regulation, flawed 
                        deregulation, excessive consumption, over-
                        reliance on foreign supplies, insufficient 
                        research and development of alternative energy 
                        sources, opportunistic behavior by energy 
                        companies, and abuses of market power;
                            (ii) examine the effects of price spikes on 
                        consumers and small businesses;
                            (iii) investigate market concentration, 
                        opportunities for misuse of market power, and 
                        any other relevant market failures; and
                            (iv) consider--
                                    (I) proposals for administrative 
                                actions to mitigate price spikes 
                                affecting consumers and small 
                                businesses;
                                    (II) proposals for legislative 
                                action; and
                                    (III) proposals for voluntary 
                                actions by energy consumers and the 
                                energy industry.
            (2) Report.--Not later than 270 days after the date of 
        enactment of this Act, the Executive Committee shall submit to 
        Congress a report that contains--
                    (A) a detailed statement of the findings and 
                conclusions of the Commission; and
                    (B) recommendations for legislation, administrative 
                actions, and voluntary actions by energy consumers and 
                the energy industry to protect consumers from future 
                price spikes in consumer energy products, including a 
                recommendation on whether energy consumers need an 
                advocate on energy issues within the Federal 
                Government.
    (i) Termination.--
            (1) Definition of legislative day.--In this subsection, the 
        term ``legislative day'' means a day on which both Houses of 
        Congress are in session.
            (2) Date of termination.--The Commission shall terminate on 
        the date that is 30 legislative days after the date of 
        submission of the report under subsection (h)(2).
                                 <all>

Pages: 1

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