By MATTHEW DALY
WASHINGTON (AP) — A closely divided House has approved legislation to crack down on alleged price gouging by oil companies as prices at the pump continue to soar. A bill backed by House Democrats would give President Joe Biden authority to declare an energy emergency that would make it unlawful to increase gasoline and home energy fuel prices in an “excessive” or exploitative manner. The bill directs the Federal Trade Commission to punish companies that engage in price gouging. The vote Thursday comes as Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said she will release a long-delayed, five-year plan that allows Interior to conduct new offshore oil and gas lease sales.