Senate to Debate Windfall Profits Tax on Big Oil
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Associated Press

WASHINGTON ó With gasoline prices topping $4 a gallon, Senate Democrats want the government to grab some of the billions of dollars in profits being taken in by the major oil companies. Senators were to vote Tuesday on whether to consider a windfall profits tax against the five largest U.S. oil companies and rescind $17 billion in tax breaks the companies expect to enjoy over the next decade.

"The oil companies need to know that there is a limit on how much profit they can take in this economy," said Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois, the Senate's No. 3 Democrat, warning that if energy prices are not reined in "we're going to find ourselves in a deep recession."

But the Democrats are going to have to overcome staunch Republican opposition to any new taxes on the oil industry. The five largest U.S. oil companies earned $36 billion during the first three months of the year.

Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., will need 60 votes Tuesday to proceed with the oil tax legislation in the face of a threatened GOP filibuster. If he doesn't get 60, he likely will pull the bill from the floor. Only last week, Reid was forced to withdraw a measure aimed at addressing global warming, falling short of the 60 votes needed to advance that legislation.

Hope this dies in the senate.