Democrats in Congress increasingly are putting pressure on Wall Street speculators to pull back from the oil markets, effectively blaming them for the unseasonable spike in oil and gas prices — which has caused a headache for the White House as well as cash-strapped families.

For weeks, Republicans have called for more domestic oil production while Democrats push anew for clean-energy investment. It’s the same fight that plays out almost every time gas prices surge, and one that is particularly shrill in an election year.

But as President Obama argues there’s little his administration can do in the short-term to ease the pain at the pump, congressional Democrats this past week claimed federal regulators could have an effect by cracking down on Wall Street.

“We have a responsibility to ensure that the price of oil is no longer allowed to be driven up by the same Wall Street speculators who caused the devastating recession that working families are now experiencing,” wrote 70 lawmakers in a letter to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

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