The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) said that it will support S. 3268, the Stop Excessive Speculation Act, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and urged Congress to act quickly to pass the legislation. The law would limit large, over-the-counter stock trades and close loopholes that have permitted traders to make large-scale speculative trades through overseas exchanges. The bill will place sensible checks on the influence of speculators.
“Every American is aware of the startling rise in fuel prices in the first half of 2008," said ASTA representatives in a released statement. "Unfortunately for business and leisure travelers alike, these prices are affecting not only the cost of driving, but also the cost of air and cruise ship travel. These realities pose serious difficulty to the travel industry—a key driver of the American economy—and to the travel agents who assist millions of Americans each year with their travel needs.
“Faced with these challenges, U.S. voters are expecting action from their representatives in Congress. One area of opportunity for congressional involvement is that of energy market oversight. The unchecked participation of large-scale institutional investors in energy markets has contributed to the skyrocketing prices of recent months.”
In addition to Harry Reid senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) introduced the legislation.
The bill also authorizes the resource-strapped Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to hire additional agents to monitor the markets for signs of price manipulation or excessive speculation. ASTA also believes S.3268 will increase transparency and disclosure requirements so as to equip the CFTC to more effectively carry out its proper role of commodity market oversight.