President Obama on Tuesday urged Congress to help strengthen federal supervision of international oil markets, amid pressure from U.S. voters to take action on rising gasoline prices.
The president wants Congress to increase penalties for market manipulation and empower regulators to increase the amount of money energy traders are required to put behind their transactions.
"Congress should do all of this right away," the president said Tuesday during a White House speech in the Rose Garden.
Obama said the plan would put "more cops on the street" to catch speculators who attempt to manipulate markets for their own profit. He also chastised Congress for recently voting against ending tax breaks to U.S. oil companies and said passing his proposal would help members redeem themselves.
Still, the president acknowledged such efforts "will not bring down gas prices overnight."
The plan is more likely to draw sharp election-year distinctions with Republicans than have an immediate effect on prices at the pump. The measures seek to boost spending for Wall Street enforcement at a time when congressional Republicans are seeking to limit the reach of federal financial regulations.
Obama was joined Tuesday by Attorney General Eric Holder in spelling out his $52 million proposal.
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