(CTN News) – Joe Biden accused oil companies of “war profiteering” and suggested imposing a windfall tax on them if they don’t increase domestic production.
He criticized major oil companies for making record profits while refusing to help lower gas prices for Americans. If oil tax companies don’t begin investing some of their profits in lowering prices for American consumers, the president may seek tax penalties from Congress. Days before the Nov. 8 midterm elections, the president issued the warning.
“My team will work with Congress to examine these options available to us and others,” Biden said. The time has come for these companies to stop war profiteering, fulfill their responsibilities to the American people, and still succeed.”
One company, ExxonMobil, reported earnings of $19.7 billion in the third quarter alone. In addition to investing in production improvements that would benefit consumers at the pump, the Irving, Texas-based company is using record profits to buy back shares.
Almost reaching its record profits in the prior quarter, Chevron had $11.23 billion in profits in the third quarter.
As a result of high gas prices, inflation has exacerbated and weakened Biden and Democrats’ standing among voters.
Additional taxes on the energy producers would need Congress’ approval – a tall order in the current Congress, where Democrats control the House and Senate, and even less likely if Republicans regain control of one or both chambers on Nov. 8.
As of the beginning of July, Americans were paying more than $4.80 for a gallon of regular gasoline on average, according to AAA. Since then, they have fallen to $3.76 on average nationally, but the White House says they should be lower given the decline in global oil prices.
Bringing prices down for American families is not the same as giving profits to shareholders, Biden tweeted on Friday.
Biden has been critical of energy companies’ profits since at least June, when he said “Exxon made more money than God.”
Progressive Democrats, including Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, have called for windfall taxes on energy companies.
Instead, I am calling for a windfall tax to ensure that excess oil profits go back to help millions of Californians.”
House Democrats approved a bill in May authorizing the Federal Trade Commission to punish companies that engage in price gouging and creating a new unit to monitor fuel markets.
In the Senate, the bill has stalled. There has been no vote on a related measure by Senate Commerce Committee Chair Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.
By redirecting that money back into the pockets of hardworking Americans, a windfall profits tax would provide immediate relief.”
In a statement, American Exploration & Production Council CEO Anne Bradbury said a windfall tax “would likely backfire by further raising energy costs for American families and businesses.”
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