Vote number 2007-215 making oil-producing and exporting cartels illegal
on Jun 19, 2007
regarding bill S.Amdt.1519 to H.R.6 NOPEC Amendment to CLEAN Energy Act
Results: Amendment Agreed to, 70-23
Voting YES would amend the Sherman Anti-Trust Act to make oil-producing and exporting cartels illegal. It would be a violation for any foreign state:
- to limit the production or distribution of oil & natural gas;
- to set or maintain the price of oil & natural gas; or
- to otherwise take any action in restraint of trade for oil & natural gas;
- when such collective action has a direct, substantial, and reasonably foreseeable effect on the market, supply, price, or distribution of oil & natural gas in the US.
Proponents recommend voting YES because:
Our NOPEC bill will authorize filing suit against nations that participate in a conspiracy to limit the supply, or fix the price, of oil. In addition, it will specify that the doctrines of sovereign immunity do not exempt nations that participate in oil cartels from basic antitrust law.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
No one likes OPEC. But this amendment, in my opinion, would make bad law. The Framers of the Constitution wisely assigned responsibility for formulating foreign policy and conducting foreign relations to the President and to the Congress, not to the law courts.
The amendment before us has its roots in a lawsuit filed by the labor union nearly 30 years ago. The union at that time charged OPEC with price fixing in violation of our antitrust laws. The trial court dismissed the case on the ground that OPEC members are sovereign nations and are immune from suit. Adopting the amendment will undoubtedly be very popular, but it is also very unwise.
In addition, we here in the Senate ought to consider how enactment of this amendment might affect our relations with OPEC members. What will be the international repercussions when the US starts awarding judgments against foreign nations and attaching their assets in this country? Will other nations start to view our trade policies--such as our nuclear trade restrictions--as violations of their antitrust laws?
voting on 2007-215
||YES||FL Former GOP Senator (resigned 2009); previously HUD Secy.|
||YES||VT Independent Jr Senator, previously Representative|