With gas prices at record levels and President Barack Obama resisting efforts for new drilling, Senate Democrats have decided now is the time to go after the nation’s five largest oil companies. They are proposing eliminating tax breaks for the companies that they argue will save $21 billion over the next decade, The Washington Post reported.
Democrats are betting that by going after Exxon Mobil, Shell, BP, Chevron and ConocoPhillips they will be able to blunt GOP efforts to solve the nation’s deficit and debt problems without new taxes and show they are doing something about high gas prices.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
, D-Nev., said, “We should not be drawing lines in the sand. It has to be a fair approach to balancing the budget. We have to do something with domestic [programs]. We have to do something on defense. And, of course, we have to do a better job with taxes,” the Post reported.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., countered, “We’re not going to raise taxes. That was decided in last November’s election. I think the American people pretty clearly believe that we have the deficit problem because we spend too much, not because we tax too little.”
Democrats are hoping to focus voter anger on high gas prices on the very profitable oil companies receiving taxpayer subsidies. However, the oil companies believe they are being singled out unfairly.
National Petrochemical and Refiners Association’s Charles Drevna said that “targeting a specific industry or even a segment of that industry is what we would consider punitive and unfair tax policy, and it is not going to get us increased energy security, increased employment and certainly not going to lower the price of gasoline,” he told the Post.
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