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Rep. Bruce Braley

Rep. Bruce Braley

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Time to End Big Breaks for Big Oil

Posted: 03/ 3/11 12:49 PM ET

For years, Big Oil -- Exxon-Mobil, Chevron, BP, Texaco, and ConocoPhillips -- has raked in record profits. But their dividend to consumers is usually the same: higher gas prices that make it more difficult to get to work, shop for groceries or drop the kids off at school.

Americans may be used to getting gouged at the pump -- but we don't deserve to get gouged in Congress too. Yet that's exactly what happens when those big oil companies collect billions in tax breaks on our dime.

Over the next ten years, Big Oil will swindle American taxpayers to the tune of nearly $43 billion in unnecessary tax subsidies -- claiming the breaks are needed to increase domestic oil production. Despite these outrageous tax loopholes, domestic oil production has decreased steadily since 1970. Meanwhile, our continued dependence on foreign oil puts the country at a national security risk.

I'm pleased to hear the recent drumbeat in Washington to eliminate oil subsidies, and I support these efforts. But closing these tax loopholes alone won't end America's need for affordable energy any time soon. That's why I've put forward a commonsense plan to not only end the shameless handouts to Big Oil CEOs and Wall Street speculators, but also to address America's ever-growing need for energy -- all while creating good-paying jobs in my homestate of Iowa and across the country.

The Clean Energy Jobs Act, which I introduced earlier this week, will end the unnecessary giveaways to Big Oil and provide incentives for renewable fuel producers to expand business and develop new technologies. Just as important, it will reduce our national deficit by billions.

In Iowa alone, the renewable fuels industry supports almost 50,000 jobs and accounts for nearly $588 million of state revenue. A recent study found that clean energy investment creates two to four times as many jobs as investing that same money in oil. And while the House Republicans' irresponsible spending measure will kill over 700,000 jobs across the country, my legislation will ensure that the renewable energy industry can continue to thrive in Iowa and across the country -- actually creating jobs and growing our local economies during this fragile recovery.

As political protests continue to create unrest in many oil-producing nations, and faced with uncertain prices at the pump, we must work to ensure our energy is produced here at home. Time and again, big oil companies and OPEC nations arbitrarily raise the price of oil when they see opportunity. And the current political climate in the Middle East is giving them plenty of opportunity. That's why my bill will take the taxpayer's hand out of any of the profiteering, ensuring Wall Street speculators aren't trading our national security interests for six-figure bonuses.

House Republicans have been pushing devastating, job killing cuts in the name of "fiscal responsibility" -- but here's a chance to reduce our deficit by billions and create jobs at the same time. It's time to end big breaks for Big Oil -- and start creating energy, and jobs, here at home.

Crossposted from Bleeding Heartland.

 

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