Bingaman: Dems’ bid to strip oil tax breaks will fall short next week

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) predicted Friday that a Democratic plan to strip billions of dollars in tax breaks for the largest oil companies will fail in the Senate next week.

Democratic leaders are planning a test vote on their plan to end incentives for Exxon, Shell, BP, Chevron and ConocoPhillips that are worth an estimated $21 billion over 10 years. But Bingaman said the plan – which would steer the savings into deficit reduction – does not have enough votes.

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“I don’t believe it does, and I think the Republicans will come up with some alternative they are going to offer that does not have the votes either,” he told C-SPAN.


It’s not clear if the bill has Bingaman’s support. “Frankly I haven’t decided how to vote. I certainly support paring back some of these tax breaks,” he said.

But he added that he would have to review the specific tax breaks targeted in the bill. “There is a whole list of them in the proposal that has been brought forward, and whether or not all of them should be pared back I am not certain at this point,” Bingaman said.

Bingaman spoke on the C-SPAN program “Newsmakers.” The interview was posted on their website Friday and will be televised Sunday.

Democrats pushing to strip the incentives are eyeing other avenues to move the bill. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), a lead sponsor, said Thursday that trying to attach it to debt ceiling legislation is an option.