The Senate continued debate Monday afternoon on Sen. Robert Menendez’s (D-N.J.) bill repealing $2 billion in tax breaks to Big Oil. The debate has given major recipients of Big Oil money the chance to defend a profitable industry, while it skims even higher profits from record gas prices.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, for instance, has the most money of any senator from oil and gas this cycle. He’s the No. 8 recipient in oil and gas career contributions in Congress, taking over $1.15 million during his tenure.
Republicans like McConnell, who said a debate on oil subsidies is a “waste of the public’s time,” used one debunked myth after another yesterday afternoon:
LIE: More Domestic Drilling Would Lower Gas Prices: McConnell claimed Republicans have the “solution” to gas prices while Democrats are lacking. The GOP’s answers include Keystone XL pipeline and drilling, neither of which lower prices.
FACT: More Drilling Increases Big Oil Profits: Experts note that production doesn’t impact gas prices; if it did, our current eight-year high in domestic energy gas prices would mean $2 gas. An Associated Press statistical analysis finds absolutely no support that drilling lowers gas prices. Neither would Keystone XL help Americans at the pump; it would only send prices higher. The pipeline “risks raising prices as much as 20 cents a gallon in the Midwest, Great Plains and Rocky Mountains,” according to a 2010 Canadian report.
LIE: Big Oil Tax Breaks Promote Drilling.: Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) said taxes are an “inconvenient fact” that “lead to lower production.” “As we tax these energy companies it is sure not going to lead them to produce things that are more affordable more abundant in fact it will have the resulting impact of impacting negatively the prices on American consumers,” she said.
FACT: Big Oil Tax Breaks Increase Big Oil Profits.: A Congressional Research Service report from May 2011 found that the repeal of five key oil industry tax breaks would lead to little or no increase of gasoline prices. Experts like oil industry analyst Tom Kloza agree that it would have no impact.
Americans know that “oil companies that want to make too much profit” deserve the most blame for higher gas prices, a new Reuters poll found. Republican senators are working to increase the $137 billion in profits the Big Five oil companies sucked from working families last year, instead of helping their constituents.