The GOP stands for the Grand Oil Party, and no longer the Grand Old Party. Why? Yesterday the Republicans voted down a Democratic measure that would have ended the tax breaks for the five largest oil companies. Democratic Senator from New Jersey, Robert Menendez, shares his thoughts on the GOP opposition to a Democrat-led measure that would end a tax break for the five largest oil companies.
UYGUR: Democrats today said that the GOP should be renamed the grand oil party. A little clever but it`s also very apt considering the Republicans voted down a democrat lead measure that would end a tax break for the five largest oil companies. Thereby, protecting their bosses once again. These are the same oil companies that last quarter, that`s just a quarter of a year made $32 billion in profits, not revenue, profits. So instead of ending the most unjust subsidies in United States history, House Republicans passed a measure that would speed up proposed offshore oil and gas lease sales to make the oil companies even more money.
This comes one day after Republicans announced a task force to expand oil drilling. The task force is called House Energy Action Team. HEAT for short. It`s not named after the Robert de Niro, Al Pacino, Bank Heist movie, but there`s definitely a heist going on. The task force is made up of 26 House Republicans who have received over $4 million in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry over the course of their careers. It includes Mike Conaway from Texas, who`s gotten over $678, 000 from oil. West Virginia Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito who has received more than 340,000, Fred Upton, who has raked in $262,000. Now, let me ask you something — who do you work for? The guy who pays you, right? The same is true for the Republican Party. They work for the people who pay them. The oil companies, that`s why they keep giving away $40 billion in oil subsidies, as our next guest is about to tell us.
Joining me now is New York Representative Tim Bishop. He unveiled the legislation aimed at ending billions in taxpayer subsidies. Congressman, great to have you here.
REP. TIM BISHOP (D), NEW YORK: Thanks for having me on.
UYGUR: And how did that bill work out for you?
BISHOP: Well, it went down today. We offered one piece of it today. We offered a bill that on what`s called a previous question vote, that would have taken away one of the tax subsidies that the oil companies realized. It is taxing something called the domestic manufacturing tax credit. It cost the taxpayer about $1.3 billion a year, and it is completely unjustified, and completely impossible to reconcile with the prices that the oil companies are charging right now to the American people.
UYGUR: You know, I`m curious to what their argument is. Because first of all, they have lost the American people. You have a poll on eliminating tax credits, 74 percent find that acceptable, we should eliminate them. Only 22 percent find it unacceptable. Three out of the top five most profitable companies in the world are oil companies. Exxon Mobil just announced over $30 billion in profits last year. It goes on and on and on. So, what`s in the God`s green earth can they say when you guys say, listen, how about just stop giving them subsidies, what`s their big grand argument against that?
BISHOP: Well, their argument is if we take away the subsidies, that people will pay that price at the pump. And it is a nonsensical argument. These subsidies have had absolutely no impact on holding down price. These subsidies were in existence. When oil was $70 a barrel, when oil was $80 a barrel, when oil was $90 a barrel, when it was as high as $147 a barrel, and it`s had no impact on driving down price. So, we have no reason to think that taking away the subsidies will have any impact on price. And also, we all know that oil is priced globally, and the factors that go into the pricing of oil are many that include, in some cases supply and demand, in many cases speculation, in many cases geopolitical factors, in some cases fear, in many cases the value of the dollar, none of the pricing has to do with subsidies.
UYGUR: Yes, it is absolutely outrageous. Even President Bush said, hey, if it goes over $50 a barrel, we shouldn`t give subsidies and we`re over 100 now, and they`re still holding on to them. Because that`s where they work for it. Representative Tim Bishop, you got the right legislation, I wish you luck with it. Thank you for calling us tonight.
BISHOP: I hope we can get it passed. Thank you.