As expected, the ginormous profits posted by major oil companies has caught the attention of tax-writing members of Congress.
Senate Democrats say they will present this week a plan to eliminate oil company tax breaks and use the estimated $21 billion in savings to offset the federal deficit.
Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) has scheduled a hearing for Thursday, May 12, on Oil and Gas Tax Incentives and Rising Energy Prices.
Industry executives have been invited to testify, but which Big Oil representatives will come to Capitol Hill is not yet clear. However, you can be sure that whoever is tapped to testify will come armed with data downplaying the oil industry's $35.6 billion in first quarter profits.
We should get a preview of the industry's side later this morning at a scheduled American Petroleum Institute, Americans for Tax Reform, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council event at which the groups' representatives will "discuss proposals in Congress to raise taxes on energy and what it could mean for American businesses, our economy, jobs, and gas prices."
Differing ideas for oil taxes: The Senate proposal diverges from White House plans.
Obama also wants to whack Big Oil tax subsidies, but he prefers to use the money for clean energy projects.
Senators, however, believe that by tying the oil industry profits to the deficit, especially as U.S. drivers are facing $4 a gallon gasoline when they fill their tanks, Republicans will have a hard time arguing against the tax plan.
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