Dem calls Dems' oil-tax bill ‘laughable’

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) called the Democratic plan to scrap tax breaks for the big five oil producers to pay down the deficit “laughable” and derided states that complain about gas prices while producing no energy themselves. 

“I see what our states produce and these people produce nothing, or virtually nothing — and you ask me can I vote for a bill like this?" asked Landrieu from Senate the floor on Wednesday, comparing the major energy-producing states with non-energy producing states.  

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 “No,” said Landrieu, answering her own question. “Not only can I not vote for it. It’s laughable.”

The Democrats' plan, which may come to the floor this week, was authored by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.). It would require oil companies to pay taxes for drilling on federal land and remove tax deductions for companies that drill in foreign countries. In all, it would raise about $20 billion, which would be directed toward deficit reduction. 

Louisiana is one of the highest energy-producing states in the nation and Landrieu argued that the Gulf's oil industry would be adversely affected by the scrapping of the tax incentives.

Landrieu said she knew her position — as well as the position of Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), who also opposes the bill — would be unpopular among their fellow Democrats.

“I know we are going to be the skunks at the garden party, to be the two Democrats against his bill,” she acknowledged.

Landrieu also blasted states that consume more energy than they produce and complain about gas prices. 

“There are a lot of states up here that don't produce, don't conserve, aren’t efficient, and all they want to do is yell about high gas prices,” said Landrieu, raising her voice. “Well, why don’t you do something about it?”