Senate Democrats

Democrats Lead on Reducing America’s Dependence on Oil – Bush Republicans Stand in the Way

Amidst record oil profits, Democrats tried to spur investment in renewable energy, energy efficiency and advanced technology vehicles, paid for by rolling back tax breaks on oil companies, but Bush Republicans refused. The White House also objected to provisions passed by both the House and the Senate to crack down on price gouging in times of declared emergencies and allowing OPEC to be sued for anti-trust breaches in U.S. courts. Instead of protecting their oil company friends, Bush Republicans should work with Democrats to reduce America’s dependence on oil and lower gas prices for American drivers.

Oil companies are announcing record profits:

Shell and BP Announced Record Profits for the First Quarter of 2008, Earning $9 Billion and $7.6 Billion Respectively. “Higher oil and natural gas prices helped Royal Dutch Shell and BP to report record first-quarter profits Tuesday, beating analysts’ expectations and prompting share gains across the industry… Shell’s net income in the first three months of this year rose 25 percent from a year earlier to $9.08 billion, and BP reported its profit increased 63 percent to $7.62 billion. In London trading, shares of Shell rose 6 percent and BP rose 5.7 percent, the biggest gains in at least two years for the companies.” [International Herald Tribune, 4/29/08]

Bush Republicans repeatedly refused to roll back tax breaks for oil companies to pay for renewable energy and energy efficiency tax incentives:

Republicans Blocked Tax Credit Package Paid for By Rolling Back Billions in Tax Breaks for Oil Companies. Senate Republicans voted against the motion to invoke cloture (thus limiting debate) on the Reid, D-Nev., motion to concur in the House amendment to the Senate amendment with an additional amendment to the bill that would require new Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards of 35 miles per gallon for cars and light trucks, and require the production and use of 36 billion gallons of biofuels by 2022. The additional amendment would increase to $21.8 billion a package of tax incentives for renewable energy that would be offset in part by eliminating or reducing $13 billion in tax breaks for major oil and gas companies. The motion was rejected 59-40, with 39 Republicans voting against. [Senate Vote #425, HR 6, 12/13/07; CQ Floor Votes; San Jose Mercury News, 12/14/07]

Republicans Blocked Energy Bill That Included Renewable Energy Tax Credits Paid for By Rolling Back Tax Breaks for Oil Companies. Senate Republicans voted against the motion to invoke cloture (thus limiting debate) on the Reid, D-Nev., motion to concur in the House amendment to the Senate amendments to the bill that would require new corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards of 35 miles per gallon for cars and light trucks by 2020 and require 36 billion gallons of biofuels to be produced and used annually by 2022. It would require electric utilities to produce at least 15 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020 and direct the Energy Department to set new energy efficiency standards. It also includes a $21.5 billion package of tax incentives that would be offset in part by eliminating or reducing $13 billion in tax breaks for major oil and gas companies. The motion was rejected 53-42, with 39 Republicans voting against. [Senate Vote #416, HR 6, 12/7/07; CQ Floor Votes]

Republicans Blocked Energy Tax Package Which Would Provide $32 Billion in Tax Incentives for Alternative Energy While Raising Taxes on Oil Companies. Senate Republicans voted against the motion to invoke cloture (thus limiting debate) on the Baucus, D-Mont., amendment no. 1704 to the Reid substitute amendment no. 1502. The Baucus amendment would establish $32.1 billion of tax incentives for alternative energy sources while imposing taxes on the oil and gas industry. It would create $3.6 billion worth of renewable energy bonds, establish $11 billion in tax incentives for renewable energy and authorize $2.5 billion for the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self Determination Act. The motion was rejected 57-36, with 34 Republicans voting against. [Senate Vote #223, HR 6, 6/21/07; CQ Floor Votes]

White House blocked measures cracking down on price gouging and OPEC:

White House Opposed Measured Banning Price Gouging and Allowing OPEC To Be Sued in U.S. Courts for Anti-Trust Law Breaches.  “Two other provisions adamantly opposed by the White House, which would have made price-gouging a federal crime and foreign oil producers subject to US antitrust laws, were not included in the bill, even though both had been approved by the House and Senate earlier in the year. The price-gouging measure would have threatened companies with legal action if they charged ‘unconscionably high’ gasoline prices during declared emergencies, while the so-called ‘NOPEC’ provision would have changed international law to make members of oil cartels liable in US courts.” [Platts Oilgram News, 12/7/07]

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