Sanders's bill targets fossil fuel tax breaks

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) introduced a bill Thursday that would eliminate tax subsidies for the oil, gas and coal industries.

The End Polluter Welfare Act, S. 1762, would end $100 billion worth of tax breaks for the industries over 10 years. 

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“At a time when fossil fuel companies are racking up record profits, it is time to end the absurdity of American taxpayers providing massive subsidies to these hugely profitable fossil fuel corporations,” Sanders said.

Sanders said he introduced the bill because budget conference negotiators are trying to iron out differences between House and Senate proposals — they’re expected to produce a report by Dec. 13. Senate Democrats have called for tax increases on corporations and the wealthy in order to replace sequestration cuts, but Republicans have said they won’t accept any tax increases.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) has proposed more modest reductions in tax breaks for the oil industry.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) accused Democrats of targeting job creators in his home state.

“Our nation is in serious need of comprehensive tax reform,” Cornyn said. “Instead, what we’re seeing from Senate Democrats is a plan that targets oil and gas producers — the very sectors our nation relies on for economic growth.”

Sanders said the top five most profitable oil companies — ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron, BP and ConocoPhilips — made more than $1 trillion in profits in the last decade.

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) has introduced a companion measure in the House.