Friday, January 19, 2007

Sen. Kerry and Rep. Hinchey Re-Introduce Measure to Repeal More Than $25 Billion in Wasteful Tax Breaks & Subsidies for Oil Companies

Yesterday, the House Democrats passed their energy package targeting royalty breaks for big oil -- the Clean Energy Act of 2007 (H-6) -- by a vote of 264 to 163, "with many Republicans joining a bloc of Democrats."

Passage came despite opposition from the oil industry and the Bush administration, which said the bill singled out the companies for higher taxes and could increase the country’s dependence on foreign oil.

The bill will rescind $7.6 billion in tax breaks for oil drillers that Congress passed in 2004 and 2005 and will add $6.3 billion in royalties from companies that pump oil and gas in publicly owned waters of the Gulf of Mexico and off Alaska.

Today, following up on the House victory, Senator John Kerry (D-Mass) and Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) re-introduced the Energy Fairness for America Act, which would repeal at least $25 billion in tax breaks and subsidies for oil and gas companies. The Energy Fairness for America Act is "part of a broader effort on behalf of Kerry, Hinchey, and other Democrats to undo giveaways to oil giants."

Kerry and Hinchey said the bill would save taxpayer funds and vowed to work aggressively to get the legislation approved this year.

“With oil companies raking in huge, record-breaking profits, there is no way the U.S. government should be giving away these massive tax breaks at the expense of American families,” Kerry said. “This legislation would go a long way to restoring the public confidence in our government and would help us recoup money that would otherwise go out the window.”

The Kerry-Hinchey bill repeals provisions in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, passed by the Republican-controlled Congress last year, which provides $2.6 billion over 10 years in tax breaks for oil and gas companies. These giveaways are on top of the billions in tax breaks and subsidies already available to the oil industry through 2009 -- breaks that have existed for decades, but would be abolished under the Energy Fairness for America Act. Additionally, the bill would end the practice of allowing companies to get a break from paying fees owed to the federal government for oil and gas extracted from public lands.

"The first 100 hours energy bill in the House provided us with a great first step toward repealing the outrageous subsidies and other giveaways that this administration has green-lighted for the oil and gas industry,” said Rep. Hinchey. “Senator Kerry and I are now taking the next step toward ensuring that the government works even harder on behalf of the American people, not massive energy companies. Congress should be in the business of fighting for the American people instead of fighting to make energy companies ever more profitable at the expense of the American people. This bill shows the wide array of tax cuts and subsidies for Big Oil that should be on the chopping block."

Kerry and Hinchey said they will explore ways to pass the measure as an independent bill, as well as in the form of an amendment to a larger bill. In the coming days, Kerry will release additional details on his environmental agenda for this Congress.

The Clean Energy Act of 2007 (H-6) included many of the Kerry-Hinchey provisions. The N.Y. Times reports that "Bush is expected to weigh in with proposals in his State of the Union address on Tuesday, and White House officials have said that new energy programs will have a prominent place in the speech." Perhaps we'll get treated to another round of Bush claiming we're addicted to oil but not offering any solutions. Of course we all know that it's the Bush administration that is addicted to BIG oil and their Big profits. Screw the little people and the environment.


Blogger just me said...

"Perhaps we'll get treated to another round of Bush claiming we're addicted to oil but not offering any solutions."

Or he will come up with some convoluted solution than no one can understand. I'm starting to think he writes his own speeches, or either can't read a telepromter. Hat's off to Kerry and Hinchey.

5:53 AM  

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