Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri is co-sponsoring legislation that would end tax breaks for the five largest oil companies in the U.S.
The Democrat-backed measure would cut off Shell, Exxon Mobil, Conoco Philips, BP and Chevron from $2 billion per year in subsidies. McCaskill says the savings would go to pay off the country’s spiraling deficit.
“It is just hard for me to imagine that anyone can talk about the deficit being a serious problem and say that it’s a really good idea for us to subsidize oil companies with taxpayer money," McCaskill said. "I do not understand. These are not struggling companies.”
Republicans oppose the effort, saying the oil companies would raise prices if the measure passes.
The Hill offers this perspective from Republican Sen. John Thune of South Dakota:
[Thune], who heads the Senate Republican Policy Committee, attacked the prospect of legislation that strips incentives for the major companies and uses the money to attack the deficit.
The oil industry, most Republicans and some oil-state Democrats say that repealing incentives would raise costs and slow domestic energy development.
“I think it is going to be awfully hard to make it more expensive for people in this country to buy energy, and raising taxes right now on the companies that produce the energy is probably just going to make energy prices go up even higher,” Thune said in the Capitol Monday evening.
A vote is scheduled on the bill next week.