Oil Tax Break Debate Heats Up in DC

Libby Casey, APRN – Washington DC

The battle of words over whether to get rid of tax breaks for big oil companies heated up Tuesday in Washington, as the Senate prepares to vote on the issue.

Alaska’s Senators are against the Democratic-driven bill that would repeal tens of billions of dollars in tax breaks over the next decade for the five biggest oil companies, which are making near record profits.

Senator Lisa Murkowski said today on the floor that prices at the gas pump will likely go up if the companies lose their federal subsidies.

“The proposal before us today is not an answer for high gas prices or the federal debt,” Murkowski said. “It’s more likely to raise our energy prices, reduce our nation’s oil production, and deepen our annual deficits.”

But California Senator Barbara Boxer responded for the Democrats:

The Senator from Alaska does an excellent job of representing the oil companies, she puts forward the oil companies arguments magnificently, she’s real good at it,” Boxer said. “She was an economics major and so was I.  She said what she learned in her time, let me tell you what I learned.  I learned that corporate welfare is wrong.”

The bill before the Senate Tuesday would take the money saved from rescinding oil company tax breaks and put it towards paying the federal deficit.  Not all Democrats are in favor – Senator Mark Begich and Senator Mary Landrieu from the oil rich state of Louisiana are fighting it.

The Senate is expected to debate a Republican plan dealing with oil issues Wednesday. It would call for increased domestic projection and boost safety of offshore operations.