Washington, D.C. — The House Judiciary Committee today approved by voice vote the bipartisan No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act (NOPEC) (H.R. 5904), authored by Representative Steve Chabot (R-Ohio). This legislation makes the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) subject to U.S. antitrust law by removing state immunity shields created by judicial precedent.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Representative Chabot, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law Subcommittee Chairman Tom Marino (R-Pa.), Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law Subcommittee Ranking Member David Cicilline (D-R.I.), and Representative Karen Handel (R-Ga.) have issued the following statements regarding NOPEC.
Chairman Goodlatte: “The purpose of antitrust law is to protect consumers from behemoths in any industry that threaten competition and control prices. The fact that OPEC has not been held accountable for its cartel behavior makes a mockery of U.S. antitrust law, threatens the American economy, and has the potential to harm our national security. I applaud Representatives Chabot and Cicilline for their efforts to put an end to OPEC’s anticompetitive behavior and urge the House of Representatives to pass this legislation quickly.”
Representative Chabot: “As we have seen time and again, when oil prices are low, international oil cartels ramp up their price-gouging efforts in order to manipulate the global crude oil market. It’s high time that we do more to fight the artificial production controls that continue to keep the price of crude oil and gasoline arbitrarily high in the United States. The legislation we approved today would significantly help to fight price-gouging by subjecting OPEC nations to antitrust laws, and prohibiting them from unilaterally withholding supply with the intent of raising prices or creating a shortage. I thank Chairman Goodlatte and Ranking Member Nadler for their leadership on this proposal, which many of us have been promoting for years. Hopefully, we can finally get this important bipartisan legislation through the Senate and to President Trump’s desk for his signature.”
Ranking Member Nadler: “The NOPEC Act will allow aggressive enforcement of U.S. antitrust law against OPEC to keep oil prices in check, and I am proud to see bipartisan cooperation on this important issue. When acting collectively, OPEC can greatly influence crude oil prices—the largest single determinant of retail gas prices—touching almost every aspect of Americans’ daily lives. Because of a series of court decisions, however, U.S. antitrust enforcers are unable to protect American consumers and businesses from the direct harm caused by OPEC’s blatantly anti-competitive conduct. The NOPEC Act directly addresses these decisions by amending procedural law and expressly authorizing the Justice Department to pursue antitrust litigation against OPEC members, should it choose to do so. ”
Subcommittee Chairman Marino: “The NOPEC Act is of vital importance in the need to hold OPEC responsible for their anticompetitive behaviors that leave hard-working American’s footing the bill for higher fuel costs. As gas prices rise with the onset of the summer driving season, timely action from Congress is needed to provide relief for our constituents. The NOPEC Act does this by ensuring that United States Antitrust law is effectively and fairly applied while lowering prices at the pump for consumers.”
Subcommittee Ranking Member Cicilline: “Working people are sick and tired of oil-producing countries ripping them off at the pump. This bill is a commonsense step to end price gouging and bring down the cost of gas for consumers. I’m proud we got this through Committee and I look forward to getting it passed by the full House.”
Representative Handel: “OPEC is a rogue operator that systematically manipulates oil supplies and prices, driving up the cost of gas for hard working Americans. The NOPEC Act will ensure that OPEC nations are subject to U.S. antitrust law and can be held accountable for price gouging and other anticompetitive actions. With summer travel season underway, the NOPEC Act will bring welcome relief from high gas prices driven by unscrupulous practices by foreign oil cartels.”
Background: The House Judiciary Committee recently held a hearing titled: “Accountability for OPEC: The No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act.”
This version of NOPEC is nearly identical to the version which passed the House and was introduced in the Senate during the 110th Congress.