President Biden spoke frankly to the American people last week about rising gas prices. It was refreshing to hear him call out U.S. oil companies: “I say: Enough! Enough of lavishing excessive profits on investors and payouts and buybacks when the American people are watching, the world is watching. US oil companies made nearly $80 billion in profit last year. This is not the time to sit on record profits.” But the solutions he proposed do not go far enough.
As we had asked, President Biden authorized the release from our Strategic Petroleum Reserve of one million barrels a day for six months as a “wartime bridge”—but it leads to increasing domestic oil production, rather than to aggressively increasing production and implementation of renewable energy and conservation technologies nationwide. Global warming is a much greater crisis for us than a spike in gasoline prices.
Biden recommended that Congress create a “use it or lose it” policy imposing fees on oil and gas companies if they fail to use their 9,000 permitted leases on 12 million acres of federal land. Bringing that bill to the floor would be a rebuke to Republican lies about Biden squelching domestic oil production, but the Republicans will continue lying to blame President Biden no matter what he does. We know that gas prices started rising before the Ukraine war because OPEC and Russia deliberately reduced their production for the express purpose of increasing prices. If we increase our domestic production, OPEC and the others will simply cut back their output further to compensate.
Millions of us voted for President Biden because we know our country needs to shift to a green economy as rapidly as possible. Taking measures to increase domestic oil production takes us in the wrong direction. The best way to fight inflation in energy costs during this global crisis is to impose price controls under the Defense Production Act, to directly reduce consumer prices of gasoline, natural gas, and heating oil, and also use the DPA to dramatically increase production and implementation of renewable energy and conservation systems. Both measures would also address the ongoing, worsening crisis of global warming.
If our senators are looking for a better way to incentivize shameless Big Oil, they could bring the Big Oil Windfall Profits Tax to the floor for a vote and make their colleagues go on the record about whether they will fight for consumers against America’s giant oil companies or the other way around.
Tell President Biden and our Senators: Increasing domestic oil production is not the solution to Big Oil’s shameless price gouging.
Good Bills for a Better Congress: Supreme Court Ethics Act
Last month, we learned about bizarre text messages sent by right-wing activist Ginny Thomas from November 2020 through mid-January 2021 to then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, encouraging him to overturn the election results. Those texts were among documents released to the January 6th Committee after the insurrectionists’ legal team lost a Supreme Court case by a vote of 8-to-1 to keep them secret under executive privilege.
The lone dissenter in that vote? Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas—Ginny Thomas’s husband. He had not even bothered to recuse himself from this case, even though his wife’s support for the January 6th rally was well known.
Some Democrats called for Thomas to resign, and others suggested impeachment proceedings. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) reintroduced his Supreme Court Ethics Act, which would require the Judicial Conference of the United States to issue a code of ethics for the entire federal judiciary, including the justices of the Supreme Court, within one year of enactment.
There are so many outstanding bills that will never make it past Republican obstruction in the 50/50 Senate. So instead of asking you to take action on bills like this right now, we’re making a list of bills our next Congress can and should enact, if we can hold our House majority and increase our Senate majority. Find the Supreme Court Ethics Act, and others that might inspire your friends and family to vote in the midterm elections, on our new list of Good Bills for a Better Congress.
Ways to help Ukraine
Ukraine needs our help. With so much need, even the smallest donation can make a difference. Here’s our current list of organizations worth supporting:
Razom For Ukraine: 501(c)(3) general humanitarian support for Ukraine (Donate)
Libereco Partnership for Human Rights: reputable European organization with partners in Ukraine, providing general humanitarian support (Donate)
Ukrainian-American Coordinating Council: 501(c)(3) American coalition that is buying supplies and aid for refugees, civilians, and defenders in Ukraine. (Donate)
Direct Bank Transfer to the National Bank of Ukraine to support Ukrainian armed forces
USA for UNHCR: the UN Refugee Agency (Donate)
Meduza: Independent journalism based in Latvia. Now that there is no free press in Russia, Meduza is one of the few remaining ways to reach ordinary Russians and dispel Putin propaganda. (Donate)
Kyiv Independent: Local journalism in Ukraine (Patreon/GoFundMe)
Doctors Without Borders: Field medical aid (Donate)
The Voices of Children Foundation: Ukrainian NGO that aids children traumatized by war (Donate)
If you’re interested in participating in activities like drafting letters to our Members of Congress and developing our strategy for influencing them, the Indivisible SF Federal Working Group is where it happens. Join us at our next meeting on Thursday, April 14. Details on how to register below.
ISF Federal Working Group meeting: Thursday, April 14, 7:30–9 PM.Register here to join our regular Zoom meeting, where we work together to develop strategies for influencing our Members of Congress and the Biden administration to support a progressive agenda. All are welcome to participate and contribute, even if you’ve never attended an ISF meeting before.
Wednesdays and Saturdays: Bay Area Coalition Phone Banks: Our friends at Swing Left need your help talking to voters about the upcoming primaries and midterms. Join Swing Left & the Bay Area Coalition on Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings to make calls to voters in California and around the nation. Sign up for a shift:
- Saturday, April 10, 10 AM–12 PM
- Wednesday, April 13, 5–7 PM
- Saturday, April 17, 10 AM–12 PM
About this week’s photo
If you’ve seen our newsletter posts on Twitter and Facebook, you might have noticed that we include a photo or graphic with each issue. Today’s image is a photo of gasoline tanker trucks by Patrick T. Fallon for AFP via Getty Images. The image was used in NPR’s recent article on why big oil drilling can’t ease rising gas prices.
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