Missouri’s senators split on whether the country should phase out tax subsidies for the five largest oil companies.
Senator McCaskill calls them “tax goodies” that should be ended. Senator Blunt says the proposal is nothing but a veiled tax increase.
McCaskill, speaking on the United States Senate floor in Washington, told her colleagues that they need to force oil companies to pay their taxes.
“I’ve got to say, I’m a little confused by the opposition to this legislation,” McCaskill stated.
McCaskill said the legislation simply holds the line on tax give-aways.
“So, there’s two ways we deny the Treasurer money,” McCaskill explained. “One is by spending money. The other is by telling people, ‘You don’t have to pay the money that the tax code says you owe.’”
McCaskill says that makes sense when it comes to the mortgage deduction for homeowners or the deduction to encourage donations to charities. McCaskill said it no longer makes sense to provide oil companies making billions subsidies.
“What about the free market I always hear about from the other side of the aisle,” McCaskll questioned. “What about that free market? Why do they need our tax goodies to help them if this is truly a free market?”
Majority Democrats in the United States Senate pushed the measure as a way to close a tax loophole. It would have phased out $21 billion in tax subsidies for the top five oil companies over the next ten years. A majority of the Senate supported it, but it failed to gain the 60 votes needed to advance. In the 52-48 vote, two Republicans voted in favor with three Democrats voting against. The Obama Administration supported the legislation.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat from Nevada, indicated the vote isn’t the final say on the issue. The Washington Post reports he told reporters he expected the issue to be part of the negotiations on raising the national debt ceiling.
Senator Blunt was among the Republicans voting against ending the tax subsidies. He suggested it was counter-productive.
“This bill is brought up to make it even harder to create American energy jobs,” Blunt stated during Senate floor debate. “And if there are any jobs that you almost certainly will create it’s producing more American energy.”
Blunt rejected the way McCaskill and other Democrats characterize the subsidies. He charged that the bill would amount to a tax increase that would not help bring down prices at the pump, but would most likely increase gas prices.
“Both the Senate majority as well as the Administration haven’t been willing to really address this energy crisis in a way that solves the problem,” according to Blunt. “The tax increases won’t reduce and will almost certainly increase gasoline prices.”