GOP Rips Obama’s Oil Tax Plan: ‘Dead on Arrival’

By Todd Beamon   |   Thursday, 04 Feb 2016 06:36 PM

Congressional Republicans vowed Thursday to kill President Barack Obama’s plan to add a $10-per-barrel tax on oil production to pay for “green” transportation projects, with House Speaker Paul Ryan calling it “dead on arrival” and “an election-year distraction.”

“The president expects hard-working consumers to pay for his out-of-touch climate agenda,” the Wisconsin Republican said. “A $10 tax for every barrel of oil produced would raise energy prices — hurting poor Americans the most.

“This announcement proves that President Obama is still on a mission to destroy a major backbone of the U.S. economy,” Ryan said. “The president should be proposing policies to grow our economy instead of sacrificing it to appease progressive climate activists.”

Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton said Obama’s plan “would be laughable if it didn’t illustrate just how much he’s lost touch with reality over the last seven years.

“While his plan might be applauded by environmentalists and big-city liberals, it would be a nightmare for working families,” the senator said. “This proposal would effectively double the gas tax — at a time when Arkansas families are enjoying more affordable gas prices.

“Worse, that tax would unfairly target people in rural states like ours who use more gasoline.”

President Obama will include the plan in his budget proposal that he will present to Congress on Tuesday. The fee will be phased in over five years, providing $20 billion every year for traffic reduction, expanding investment in transit systems and new modes of transportation like high-speed rail.

It would also revamp how regional transportation systems are financed, providing $10 billion to encourage investment that lead to cleaner transportation options.

The tax is expected to improve long-term solvency of the Highway Trust Fund to improve the nation’s infrastructure, the White House said.

The added cost of gasoline would create a clear incentive for the private sector to reduce the nation’s reliance on oil and drive investments in clear energy technology.

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise also repeated the “dead-on-arrival” pledge.

“From day one of President Obama’s administration, he has waged open warfare on American energy — and his radical policies have cost jobs while increasing costs on hard-working families,” the Louisiana Republican said. “Washington spending is already too high, and the best way to create more jobs and get our economy back on track is by cutting taxes and controlling spending.”

Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe, chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said the tax would “extinguish” the only job-growth sector in the American economy.

“One of the only bright spots in President Obama’s anemic economy has been the jobs created by the oil and natural gas production industry, which has grown despite his policies,” he said. “It is no surprise his lack of leadership and petty partisanship would try to extinguish that economic contributor as well.

“Frankly, I’m unsure why the president bothers to continue to send a budget to Congress,” Inhofe continued. “He never submits one that balances — and even his own party members have not only voted against it but voted against it unanimously.

“America is ready for a new president.”

Oil industry groups also lashed out at President Obama’s plan.

“There’s nothing like a president in his last year in office to show us his stripes,” said Tom Pyle, president of the American Energy Alliance. “Make no mistake, this is an energy consumer tax disguised as an oil company fee.”

Neal Kirby, a spokesman for the Independent Petroleum Association of America, said that “at a time when oil companies are going through the largest financial crisis in over 25 years, it makes little sense to raise costs on the industry.”

The Associated Press and Bloomberg News contributed to this report.


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