Forty-one Senate Republicans stayed in lock step with the oil industry Tuesday as record gas prices have big oil rolling in profits at consumers’ expense. Even as they face another tough election, Republicans in Congress refused to allow a tax on oil companies’ “unreasonable” revenue.
The centerpiece of the Democratic bill was a 25 percent tax on profits that exceed what would have been considered “reasonable” in recent years. The oil companies could avoid the tax if they invested the money in alternative energy projects or refinery expansion.
The bill also would have rolled back oil industry tax breaks worth $17 billion over 10 years and used that revenue to create tax incentives for wind, solar and other alternative energy sources.
It also would have:
Allowed the president to declare an energy emergency if there is an oil shortage, disruption or significant price irregularity in the oil market. Companies would be subject to civil penalties if they set excessive prices during such an emergency.