Michigan Congressman Bart Stupak has been actively working on two pieces of legislation that he says could save Americans money at the gas pump and help college students get more financial aid. Jean talks with Congressman Stupak about the Prevent Unfair Manipulation of Prices [PUMP] Act and the College Cost Reduction Act.
Congressman Stupak introduced the PUMP Act more than two years ago in an effort to increase the oversight of energy trading and stop price gouging in the energy field. He says currently, a small number of big oil companies dominate the market. "They control it all, they have consolidated that power and when they consolidate that power they can manipulate prices even more than what they are," he says.
While his legislation is currently pending, Congressman Stupak says constituents need to contact their state representatives and senators and demand tougher regulation in the trading of energy commodities. "Refineries are really taking advantage of the American people," he says. "There is no oversight of oil traders, there is no oversight on the industry."
The College Cost Reduction Act of 2007, recently passed in the House and Senate, is legislation that Congressman Stupak says could provide the largest increase in financial aid for college students in decades. The bill would increase the amount of money awarded in federal education grants and cut interest rates on student loans in half. In addition, the bill would provide tuition assistance for undergraduates who agree to teach in the nation's public schools and forgive loans for college graduates who enter public service professions.
"We are trying to provide money for families and for students to get a good education and go to college and get the education they need and be very productive members of society; we are just trying to help them out," Congressman Stupak says.