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.