With consumers pinched across the country, today, the House will try again to eliminate the most lucrative tax breaks for oil companies--an $18-billion bounty--and simultaneously expand over $8 billion in tax incentives for the use and development of renewable energy.
While last December, Senate Republicans bucked similar legislation after it cleared the House, as gas prices inch toward $4.00 a gallon and on the heels of January job losses, House Demcorats hope the package has gained the critical across-the-aisle momentum it needs. Speaker Pelosi (D-Calif.), in particular, cites the need to expand renewable-energy tax incentives--currently in place until December 2008--to maintain and expand existing U.S. jobs. (The Solar Energy Industry Association estimates that Americans could lose 116,000 jobs in the solar and wind industry if existing renewable-energy tax credits are suspended.)
Last year, the biggest five oil companies posted record profits, with ExxonMobil's earnings peaking at $40.6 billion--the largest corporate haul in U.S. history. Today, oil prices peaked at $102 a barrel for the first time.
The House votes on the legislation this afternoon. Meanwhile, President Bush has threatened to veto the bill.