Dems hope for political momentum on repeal of oil tax breaks

“I have heard from a number of Republicans that extending some of these energy tax credits is a priority for them,” said Sen. Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezPoll: Menendez has 17-point lead over GOP challenger Russian attacks on America require bipartisan response from Congress Justice Dept intends to re-try Menendez in corruption case MORE (D-N.J.) on the same call. Asked if there are any Republicans who will support the measure Monday that opposed it May, he replied: “We will see.”

“It is my hope that some of these comments that were made to me privately will end up manifesting themselves in votes,” Menendez said.

The oil industry and GOP leaders are aggressively pushing back against the plan. 

The American Petroleum Institute, the powerful oil industry trade group, is running an eight-state radio and print advertising campaign opposing efforts to eliminate the tax breaks. The industry argues that stripping tax breaks for oil giants like Exxon, Chevron and Shell would put jobs at risk and potentially increase gas prices.

But President Obama and many Democrats say the tax incentives are not needed, especially at a time of high prices and handsome industry profits.

“We can end these wasteful taxpayer subsidies to Big Oil and use the savings to invest in clean energy and create jobs and reduce the deficit,” Menendez said.

The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that removing the incentives would raise $24 billion over 10 years, while extending the green-energy and efficiency incentives would cost $11.7 billion over the same period, according to Menendez’s office.

The plan would prevent major integrated oil companies from claiming deductions on certain drilling costs, strip their ability to claim a lucrative deduction on domestic manufacturing income that’s available to a suite of industries, and nix several other incentives as well.