WASHINGTON Feb 13 Senate Democrats on Wednesday
introduced a bill to eliminate billions of dollars in tax
benefits enjoyed by big oil and gas companies, one day after
President Barack Obama renewed his call for plugging tax
loopholes in his State of the Union address.
Obama and fellow Democrats for years have targeted oil and
gas tax breaks, a move that Republicans and some Democrats from
oil-producing states fiercely oppose.
The measure focuses on provisions such as immediate
expensing for drilling costs and the use of a tax break for
A bill to end these benefits died in the
Democratic-controlled Senate last year, with four Democrats
voting to block it. This year's plan is unlikely to move forward
in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.
Sponsored by Senate Democrat Robert Menendez of New Jersey
and with more than a dozen co-sponsors, the bill would curb
breaks used by the "big five" oil companies: Exxon Mobil Corp
, BP Plc, ConocoPhillips, Chevron Corp
and Royal Dutch Shell Plc.
Ending the breaks would raise $24 billion over a decade to
help reduce the federal deficit, its backers say. Some Democrats
want to use money to stave off $85 billion in automatic spending
cuts set to kick in on March 1.
"The industry is often thrown out there as a short-term
revenue grab," Brian Johnson, a tax adviser for the American
Petroleum Institute, said this week. "You will get revenue in
the short-term. But the long-term economic consequences are a
dramatic loss of revenue from our industry."