Menendez: Dems will ‘insist’ on oil tax-break repeal in debt fight

The Democratic senator leading the charge to strip billions of dollars in oil industry tax breaks said Democrats will “insist” that ending the subsidies be part of any legislation to raise the debt ceiling.

Sen. Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezSchumer: Obama 'very amenable' to helping Senate Dems in midterms The Hill's Morning Report: Can Trump close the deal with North Korea? Senate must save itself by confirming Mike Pompeo MORE (D-N.J.) said Thursday evening that the debt ceiling is among the options for moving the plan to remove incentives for oil giants including Exxon, BP and Shell.

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“I'm convinced we're going to do this, because whether this is done through my legislation or whether this is done as part of any debt-ceiling vote, which we’ll insist on, or whether it’s done as part of any budget vote, we are going to eliminate these subsidies,” he said on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show.”

The timing of a vote to raise the debt ceiling is unclear but is expected this summer before Aug. 2, when the Treasury Department has warned it will no longer be able to meet all its financial obligations.

Menendez’s comments show that Democrats are making the oil taxes a top political priority, and came on the same day that top executives with Exxon, BP, Shell, ConocoPhillips and Chevron faced a grilling before the Senate Finance Committee.

Menendez is the lead sponsor of a Democratic leadership-backed plan to nix an estimated $21 billion over 10 years in industry incentives. The plan would steer the savings into deficit reduction.

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidAmendments fuel resentments within Senate GOP Donald Trump is delivering on his promises and voters are noticing Danny Tarkanian wins Nevada GOP congressional primary MORE (D-Nev.) has scheduled a test vote on the oil-tax plan Wednesday.

Democrats see a political opening on the matter amid high industry profits and high gasoline prices. But Senate votes last year and in February to strip industry incentives fell well short of passage.

Most Republicans and some Democrats — including Sens. Mary LandrieuMary Loretta LandrieuLandrieu dynasty faces a pause in Louisiana Senate GOP rejects Trump’s call to go big on gun legislation Project Veritas at risk of losing fundraising license in New York, AG warns MORE (D-La.) and Mark BegichMark Peter BegichFormer Alaska senator jumps into governor race Overnight Energy: Trump directs Perry to stop coal plant closures | EPA spent ,560 on customized pens | EPA viewed postcard to Pruitt as a threat Perez creates advisory team for DNC transition MORE (D-Alaska) — oppose the plans. Critics say they would stymie domestic energy production by raising costs.

Sen. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDems must stop picking foxes to guard the financial hen house Schumer warns 'House moderates' against immigration compromise bill Trump knocks Schumer, touts North Korea summit in early morning tweet MORE (D-N.Y.) — a member of the Democratic leadership team — said earlier this week that if the bill doesn’t pass as a stand-alone measure, Democrats will try and attach repeal of the tax breaks to broader deficit-reduction legislation.