Alexa

US Democrats trying again to boost taxes on oil companies by $18 billion

US Democrats trying again to boost taxes on oil companies by $18 billion

Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives cited record oil prices and a surge in gasoline costs Wednesday as they pushed to impose $18 billion (euro11.9 billion) in new taxes on the largest oil companies. Republicans argued the industry is being unfairly singled out for higher taxes.
Lawmakers began debate on the tax legislation with a vote scheduled for later Wednesday as crude oil prices exceeding $100 (euro66.4) a barrel and gasoline prices moving well over $3 (euro2) a gallon amid indications that $4 (euro2.66) is not out of the picture as the summer driving season in the U.S. approaches.
Rep Jim McDermott, a Democrat, urged lawmakers to "stop the madness of subsidizing oil companies" when the industry earned $123 billion (euro81.7 billion) last year.
"Gas prices have been soaring," added Rep. Richard Neal, a Democrat, noting that across much of the U.S. people are "struggling to pay energy costs that have skyrocketed in a harsh winter."
But Republicans argued the tax provisions would reduce investment in oil and gas development and lead to higher prices. . "This bill singles out one industry," complained said Rep. Kevin Brady, a Republican from the oil state of Texas.
The leader of the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, noted that the House twice last year passed similar tax provisions _ only to have it die in the Senate _ and "since then the price of gasoline has gone up 75 cents" $.75 (euro.50) a gallon and large oil companies have made record profits. She said the bill will spur clean energy production with tax incentives for those industries.
Pelosi's office distributed a state-by-state list of high gasoline prices compared with oil industry profits, including a record $40.6 billion (euro26.9 billion) in earnings by ExxonMobil Corp. last year.
The bill would roll back two lucrative tax breaks for the largest U.S. oil companies, and use the money for tax incentives to support wind, solar and biofuel industries as well as energy efficiency programs.
Pelosi called the shift of tax benefits from oil to alternative energy development critical to increased energy independence and lowering energy costs.
The White House maintains that singling out the oil companies for higher taxes "would reduce the nation's energy security rather than improve it" and "lead to higher energy costs to U.S. consumers and business."
President George W. Bush would be urged by his senior advisers to veto the bill should Congress send it to his desk, the White House said in a statement on the eve of the House vote.
The oil industry has intensely lobbied against the legislation, calling it a "discriminatory bill" that unfairly targets companies that already pay more taxes than U.S. manufacturers.
"New taxes ... will even further reduce our energy security by discouraging new domestic oil and natural gas production and refinery capacity expansions," the American Petroleum Institute said in a statement.
The bill would direct more than $8 billion (euro5.3 billion) to bolster investment in wind, solar, biomass and geothermal energy development, extending many of the tax credits for these industries that have either recently ended or are scheduled to expire at the end of this year.
A similar tax proposal passed the House last summer, but it was abandoned in the Senate where Republicans overwhelmingly opposed it. Bush at the time promised he would veto the measure because it singled out the oil industry for new taxes.


Updated : 2021-03-09 13:35 GMT+08:00