Senate Democrats have decided to get serious about the budget deficit. Their first line of attack will be a plan to strike billions of dollars of corporate welfare for the five largest oil companies. The corporate welfare comes in the form of tax incentives and breaks for the likes of ExxonMobil, BP, Chevron, Shell and ConocoPhillips.
Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont) is drafting a bill that would exempt oil and gas companies from the Section 199 tax deduction for domestic manufacturers, reduce the tax credit for royalty payments to foreign governments and impose an excise tax on certain Gulf of Mexico leases. His plan would flag those saved dollars and place them toward programs that reduce oil use including incentives to increase production of cleaner and more affordable domestically-produced fuel.
Given that these companies report billions of dollars of profits quarterly, ending these giveaways seems like a no-brainer. Even Speaker Boehner suggested he was open to ending the subsidies.
Enter the Congressional Republican who last week voted unanimously against Democrats first strike against the companies. Democrats had sought to attach a measure ending subsidies to a bill that would allow oil companies to more easily secure drilling permits off the Gulf Coast.
Democrats acknowledge that they alone don’t have the votes to force an end to the subsidies, but the fact that they are united on their message and intent on bringing the issue to a vote shows they are willing to play some political hardball with Republicans for a change.
photo courtesy of freewine via Flickr