GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah says oil companies are being singled out for attack because they are politically unpopular, and even Democrats admit that eliminating tax incentives would not reduce the price of oil. Hatch also said Friday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that giving $2 billion to Brazil for offshore drilling while limiting it domestically shows the Obama administration has no energy policy — and “they don’t know what they’re doing.”
|GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch: Obama administration doesn't know what it's doing on energy. (Getty Images Photo)
“This is selective and selective because they are politically unpopular,” said Hatch, the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, which convened hearings Thursday on a bill designed to strip oil companies of tax incentives.
“For instance, almost the same tax benefits go to casinos and to gambling: Should we take that away? Well, we’re not going to take that away because there are people in the Senate that don’t want that to happen,” he said. “I think we should look at these things in a fair way — not make a circus out of it like I think the Democrats tried to do yesterday — and I think they failed.”
Hatch was asked why the oil companies need tax help during a budget crisis.
“Well, one of the reasons is they can’t get permits — this administration has no energy policy whatsoever — they don’t know what they are doing,” Hatch replied. “You saw the president go down to Brazil — Do you know he gave $2 billion to Brazil for the development of oil, and said we are going to buy your offshore oil, while shutting down our own offshore drilling, where we know there is at least 30 billion barrels of oil?
“This is just absurd what they’re doing — and like I say, the oil companies are an unpopular group, so it is easy to attack them,” he said. “But my point is this: Maybe we should take away those benefits, but it ought to be taken away across the board for everybody and not just them. “
Hatch said that all oil executives — and even the Democrats — acknowledge that eliminating tax incentives would not bring down oil costs.
“If you listened to those leaders yesterday — of the oil business — each one of them said they have been putting more money into the ground than they actually made. And gradually, they are trying to find more and more oil and they’re being stopped in this country . . . by this administration, that doesn’t have any oil policy at all.”
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