Floor Updates

Coats, Roberts

Buffett Rule bill (S. 2230)

Mar 28 2012

02:06 PM

Senator Coats: (1:24 PM)
  • Spoke on the Menendez Energy Tax Credits bill.
    • SUMMARY "The good news is that Americans are increasingly understanding and learning that we can be a major player in producing energy. We're discovering abundant amounts of energy in this country that we didn't think that we had. A lot of that is right here in our backyard. That's the good news. Now, the bad news is that we have had an administration that for three years has been promoting policies that work against the goal of our achieving more energy independence. And that's the problem with the bill that we are currently discussing. Because that bill raises gasoline prices by raising taxes on oil production. Why in the world would we want to raise prices on gasoline at a time when America's economy is struggle to come out of recession and we're working hard to get people back to work and at a time when gasoline prices are rising through the supply and demand issues that we've had, why in the world would we want to do anything that would further increase the cost of gas at the pump? The current tax code provides for a number of targeted tax incentives for the energy sector. It is foreign note that the vast majority of those subsidies go to the so-called new wave of energy production, the renewables. Only a small minority of those subsidies and credits go to producing the oil and the gas that we need that drive this economy. So that eliminating only those benefits that go to the production of the needed oil and gas that benefits our economy, at the same time extending the subsidies and credits and support for the renewables, is not the direction that we need to go. So it's not about producing more energy. It's about targeting just one sector of our energy industry: that is, a fossil fuel energy source that is absolutely essential to driving our economy. If we want to eliminate oil and gas subsidy, we ought to put all subsidies for energy on the table. Senator Wyden and I have coauthored a bill for comprehensive tax reform, and in that bill we look at the idea others saying let's get on a level playing field and we're willing to make adjustment even in our own bill if necessary to achieve that so that we can lower tax rates on American companies and on the American people by getting us more to a level playing field."

Senator Roberts: (1:36 PM)
  • Spoke on the Menendez Energy Tax Credits bill.
    • SUMMARY "Let's examine some of these real factors that are affecting our prices of energy. First off, there is tremendous increased demand outside of the United States, in particular Asia, China. They have caused the price of oil to rise rather dramatically. Even with the increased production in Canada, the United States and Brazil, declines in the North Sea, Mexico, Sudan and Libya have impacted the global supply. Second, our U.S. refining capacity has decreased as a result of the stricter environmental regulations, where they get their crude from. Both have lowered the supply of gasoline enough to prop up prices. We see reports in the press every day about one refinery making it big and the other refineries are having a lot of difficulty. Third, restricted domestic energy development on federal lands disrupted our futures projections. Fear over Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions is leading to fear over gasoline. People try to stock up in anticipation of any supply disruption that would be based on the possibility of a conflict in the Middle East. Lastly, I would simply point out that speculators ignore the inflationary aspects of the monetary policies of several central banks and the globe. It doesn't take a speculator to know when the U.S. Treasury prints more money, it drives down the value of the dollar, drives down the price of oil materials priced in dollars. Despite this fact we have too many seeking a solution for a problem that isn't there. One of the regulatory bodies found in their investigations as we look for somebody to blame, there have already been studies and investigations into whether excessive speculation is really manipulation. And they are manipulating prices. Let's just take a look at what they found. Last year a federal trade commission report on the manipulation of gas prices determined that none complaints investigated violated any FTC rule. A similar study by the CFTC stated in its analysis, "Does not support the proposition that speculative activity has systemically driven changes in oil prices." Last but not least the administration's own financial fraud enforcement task force set out to investigate illegal speculation in the energy markets. And to date it has found none. The effects of high gas prices on economic growth and on each individual business and family are certainly well understood. We should be finding effective solutions to fix a failed federal energy policy rather than trying to place the blame where it doesn't exist."