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Schumer, Dems Call for End to Big Oil Tax Breaks and Subsidies

With gas prices skyrocketing past $3 a gallon and oil companies reaping record profits, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, Assistant Democratic Leader Dick Durbin, Senator Debbie Stabenow, and Senator Chuck Schumer today sent the following letter to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, urging him to remove massive and unwarranted subsidies to Big Oil from the tax reconciliation bill he is preparing to bring to the U.S. Senate.

Schumer said, “At a time of record oil company profits and record gas prices, we shouldn’t be giving oil companies tax subsidies; we should be giving money back to the American consumer who is paying through the nose for gas.”

The text of the letter is below.

April 27, 2006

Senator Charles Grassley Chairman Committee on Finance 219 Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Grassley:

We write to encourage you to insist that the conference agreement on the tax reconciliation bill include the Senate-passed provisions that eliminate unnecessary and unwarranted tax breaks for the oil and gas industry. On the very day President Bush and congressional Republicans made statements indicating they are going to take a tough line against oil companies recording record profits and paying huge salaries, news reports indicate congressional Republicans have decided to jettison these provisions. As Chairman of the Conference, we urge you to be true to these public statements and include these offsets in the final bill.

Consumers are paying more than $3.00 per gallon of gasoline, a 100% increase since 2001; there are rumored to be gasoline shortages in some areas on the East Coast due to poor oil company planning; and oil futures prices for June delivery have reached $75 a barrel. Diesel fuel has also more than doubled in price in the same time period, severely hampering the farm economy and the transportation industry.

At the same time that American consumers are suffering under these high gasoline prices, oil companies are reporting record-breaking profits and their executives are receiving multi-million dollar retirement packages. There is no reason to continue tax policies that provide further tax windfalls to these companies. The three provisions included in the Senate-passed bill would repeal tax breaks for these companies that total $5.4 billion over the next ten years.

We urge you to stand firm in support of the Senate-passed bill. That bill rightly recognized as unconscionable the continuation of billions of dollars in tax breaks for an industry that is recognizing record-breaking profits at the expense of American consumers.


Harry Reid
Dick Durbin
Debbie Stabenow
Charles E. Schumer


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