Campaign 2010

Apr 26, 2011

Welcoming Speaker John Boehner to the Fight to End Taxpayer Subsidies for Big Oil

Caving to political pressure, House Speaker John Boehner (OH-08) said yesterday that he was “open” to ending multibillion-dollar taxpayer giveaways to Big Oil companies making record profits despite his decades-long record of protecting them. Boehner has taken almost $350,000 in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry and consistently voted to protect taxpayer giveaways for Big Oil. Boehner even voted against cracking down on speculation and price gouging on gas prices.  All of which begs the question, why now?

 

“Big Oil has no better friend in Congress than Speaker John Boehner, who for decades protected Big Oil’s billions in taxpayer giveaways, speculation, and price gouging while making record profits – all at the expense of Americans feeling pain at the pump,” said Jesse Ferguson of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.  “We agree with Speaker Boehner that Big Oil should be paying their fair share, that’s why Democrats have been pushing for Big Oil to pay their fair share despite Republican opposition.  The difference is when Speaker Boehner had an opportunity to do something about it, he chose to end Medicare rather than make Big Oil pay their fair share.”

 

Yesterday, House Speaker John Boehner told ABC World News that Congress should take a look at repealing multibillion-dollar tax subsidies enjoyed by the major oil companies. He said that oil companies “ought to be paying their fair share.” [Associated Press, 4/25/11]

 

BACKGROUND

 

Boehner has taken over $346,000 from the Oil and Gas Industry. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Boehner has accepted $346,700 from the oil and gas industry while in Congress.  [opensecrets.org, accessed 4/26/11]

 

Voted to Protect or Opposed Repealing Tax Breaks for Big Oil companies

 

  • In March 2011, Republicans voted against “a motion to recommit the joint resolution to the Appropriations Committee with instructions that it be reported back immediately with an amendment that would prohibit any major integrated oil company from being eligible for any tax benefit or relief under related provisions of the tax code.” [HJRes 44, Vote #153, 3/1/11]

 

  • In 2008, Boehner voted against considering the rule to allow the House to vote on the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act and allow for the House to vote on the legislation. The bill comprehensively invested resources into wind, solar, and geothermal energy systems.  Furthermore, it extended tax credits to producers of cleaner burning bio-diesel and cellulosic alcohol based fuels.  The motion passed, 224-186.  [HR 5351, Vote #78, 2/27/08]

 

  • In 2008, Boehner voted against a motion to end debate on the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act and allow for the House to vote on the legislation.   The bill comprehensively invested resources into wind, solar, and geothermal energy systems.  Furthermore, it extended tax credits to producers of cleaner burning bio-diesel and cellulosic alcohol based fuels.  [HR 5351, Vote #80, 2/27/08]

 

  • In 2007, Boehner voted against shifting certain revenue from royalties and tax incentives from oil and gas companies into a reserve fund for alternative and renewable energies.  The bill would require current offshore fuel producers who are not paying federal royalties to agree to pay royalties when fuel prices reach certain thresholds or pay fees based on how much fuel they produce. [New York Times, 1/19/07; CQ Floor Votes, 1/18/07; HR 6, Vote #40, 1/18/07]

 

  • In 2006, Boehner voted against a motion to instruct conferees negotiating H.R. 4297, the Tax Reconciliation Bill. The motion would instruct House conferees to 1) accept three bipartisan provisions from the Senate that would remove subsidies and close loopholes for large integrated oil companies, so that big oil companies would pay their fair share of taxes, and 2) strike the extension of the capital gains and dividend tax cuts.  The total for these two proposals was $51 billion. In 2005, the top five oil companies reaped more than $100 million, three times their profits in 2002. [HR4297, Vote #109, 4/27/06]

 

  • In 2005, Boehner voted in favor of the energy conference report that includes an estimated $85 billion worth of subsidies and tax breaks for most forms of energy – including oil and gas, “clean coal,” ethanol, electricity, and solar and wind power. [Washington Post, 7/30/05; HR 6, Vote #445, 7/28/05]

 

  • In 2005, Boehner voted in favor of an energy bill that provided $8 billion in tax breaks to energy producers and billions of dollars more in direct federal aid, while doing nothing to lower gas prices and giving short shrift to energy efficiency and renewable fuels. The bill included $2 billion in royalty relief to the oil and gas industry over 10 years for research on ways to recover more oil and gas from the Gulf of Mexico. [New York Times, 4/22/05; Sacramento Bee, 4/22/05; Boston Globe, 4/22/05; HR6, Vote #132, 4/21/05]

 

  • In 2003, Boehner voted in favor of the Republican energy bill, a massive handout to the coal, oil, nuclear and natural gas industries and promoted as a means to reduce America’s reliance on foreign sources of energy. The bill included $37 billion in corporate tax breaks and subsidies for the coal, oil, nuclear and natural gas industries. [HR 6, Vote #630, 11/18/03]

 

  • In 2001, Boehner voted in favor of the Republican energy bill, which provided billions of dollars in subsidies to polluters.  [Public Interest Research Group, League of Conservation Voters; HR 4, Vote #320, 8/02/01]

 

A Record of Refusing to Crack Down on Gas Price Gouging

 

  • In 2008, Boehner voted against a bill that would authorize the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate and punish motor fuel price gougers. [CQ Today, 6/24/08; HR 6346, Vote #448, 6/24/08]

 

  • In 2007, Boehner voted against legislation to crack down on gas price gouging. The bill prohibited price gouging for fuels in areas experiencing an “energy emergency,” set civil and criminal penalties for price gouging and permitted states to bring lawsuits against retailers for price gouging.  [CQ Floor Votes, 5/23/07; HR 1252, Vote #404, 5/23/07]

 

  • On June 29, 2006, Boehner voted in favor of killing an attempt to bring up a bill offered by Rep. Stupak (D-MI) that would give the FTC and the Justice Department authority to investigate and prosecute oil companies engaged in price gouging involving gasoline, home heating oil, or natural gas and applies to the entire fuel supply chain. Under the bill, the Justice Department could impose criminal penalties of up to $100 million on corporations, and fines of up to $1 million and jail sentences of up to 10 years for individuals.[HRes 897, Vote #352, 6/29/06]

 

  • In 2005, Boehner voted against a motion to grant new authority to the Federal Trade Commission to investigate, enforce and then punish price gouging and market manipulation. Any violation would result in new civil penalties, and would be enforced with up to triple the damages of the profits gained by the violation. [HR 3893, Vote #518, 10/07/05; Rep Tim Bishop remarks, Congressional Record, pg H8790, 10/7/05]

 

Refused to Stand up to Foreign Gas Price Fixing. In 2007, Boehner voted against a bipartisan bill to empower the Department of Justice to bring antitrust lawsuits against the OPEC alliance in U.S. courts. The measure was intended to crack down on OPEC members that set production quotas to manage global oil prices. [CQ Floor Votes, 5/22/07; HR 2264, Vote #398, 5/22/07; The Hill, 5/24/07]

 

Voted Against Bill to Crack Down on Foreign Oil Price Manipulation. In 2008, Boehner voted against a bill that would make it illegal for foreign countries to collectively manipulate energy prices or supplies and allow the federal government to sue foreign countries for any such actions that affect the United States.  The measure would create a Justice Department task force to investigate price gouging and manipulation in oil markets and require a study of the effect of oil industry mergers on fuel prices. Notably, the legislation would allow the Justice Department to pursue legal action against the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries for conspiring to restrict supplies or drive up prices. [Los Angeles Times, 5/21/08; HR 6074, Vote #332

 

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