As many continue to suffer from tough economic times and still too high rate of unemployment, American families and small businesses face additional hardship of record gas prices - averaging nearly $4.00 per gallon. This is causing both pain at the pump, as well as rising costs for food and other basic household goods.
American taxpayers are also footing the bill for tens of billions in tax breaks for Big Oil, even as oil companies are raking in huge profits. The top five multi-national oil companies made over $900 billion in profits over the last decade - with another $36 billion in profits just this quarter. With the biggest oil companies announcing profits of $30 billion in the first quarter of 2011, Democrats have offered a proposal to end $31 billion in tax breaks (over ten years).
But Republicans want to keep handing taxpayer subsidies to Big Oil and pass “Drill Only” bills that do nothing to ease the pain at the pump.
Last week, Democrats once again gave Republicans a chance to vote to end one of the most egregious tax breaks for Big Oil. But they said no -- even after Speaker Boehner said that oil companies should pay their fair share. Through last week, Republicans have voted seven times against holding Big Oil accountable and providing relief to consumers last year.
This week, Republicans are passing three bills that are a boon to Big Oil that would make another catastrophic oil spill more likely. These bills:
- Make offshore drilling less safe, rushing the very processes that the National Commission on the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling found led to the BP disaster. (H.R. 1229)
- Mandate the most sweeping expansion of offshore drilling in our nation's history - making broad swaths of the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts open for leasing automatically. (H.R. 1231)
- Grant enormous, multi-national energy companies access to the Gulf with less oversight - rushing lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico with unreasonable time limits and without proper environmental review. (H.R. 1230)
In total, over the past four years, Republicans have voted:
- Eight times against ending billions in tax breaks and other taxpayer financed subsidies for Big Oil or considering legislation that would do that. [HR 6899, HR 6, HR 2776, HR 6 (S. Agreement),May 5, 2011, HConRes34, March 1, 2011, February 18, 2011]
- Nine times against cracking down on Wall Street speculation that drives up gas prices, as well as anti-price gouging legislation and other efforts to bring down gas prices. [HR 6899, March 9, 2011, HR 4173, HR4173 law, HR 6604, HR 6578,HR 6346, HR 6074, H.R. 1 (112th)]
- 16 times against American clean energy and energy efficiency, critical to spur the breakthroughs and manufacturing of new technology (like wind and solar energy and electric cars) that will power the world, and create good paying jobs here at home. [HR 6899, HR 6049, HR 6052, HR 6 law, HR 1, HR 2454, HR 5019 HR4785, HR 6, HR 2776, HR 6 (S. Agreement), HConRes34, H.R. 1 (112th), HR 3221 Latta Amendment, Tonko Amendment]
- Four times against holding Big Oil accountable to explore and produce domestic energy on already leased lands, in a clean and safe manner. [HR 3221 HR 6515, HR 6251, HR 6899]