A group of Senate Democrats on Thursday released a new bill that would impose a new tax on major oil companies to prevent them from "profiteering" as gas prices dramatically rise nationwide, the Washington Examiner reports.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., and 11 of his Democratic colleagues in the Senate on Thursday released The Big Oil Windfall Profits Tax Act, which would tax a portion of the profits that oil companies are collecting at the moment.
"While the U.S. severs economic ties with [Russian President Vladimir] Putin to protect our national security, I am committed to doing everything in my power to limit the fallout for Rhode Islanders who were already getting squeezed before this happened," Whitehouse said in a statement.
"We’ve seen this script before, and we cannot allow the fossil fuel industry to once again collect a massive windfall by taking advantage of an international crisis. I propose sending Big Oil’s big windfall back to the hardworking people who paid for it at the gas pump.
"Over the longer term, speeding up the transition to renewables will lower energy costs, insulate consumers from price spikes, and reduce Western nations’ dependence on foreign despots and greedy fossil fuel companies."
According to a summary of the bill, oil companies that either import or produce more than 300,000 barrels of oil each day will have to pay a tax of 50% of the difference between the current price of oil per barrel and the pre-pandemic average price as measured between the years 2015 and 2019.
Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., the chair of the House Oversight and Reform Committee’s Environmental Subcommittee who will introduce the bill in the lower chamber, said in a statement: "This is a bill to reduce gas prices and hold Big Oil accountable.
"As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sends gas prices soaring, fossil fuel companies are raking in record profits. These companies have made billions and used the profits to enrich their own shareholders while average Americans are hurting at the pump. I’m glad to introduce this legislation with Senator Whitehouse that will provide an incentive to cap gas prices and put money back in the pockets of consumers."
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