Key Vote Letter Regarding S. 953, the "Offshore Production and Safety Act" and S. 940, the "Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act"
TO THE MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region, strongly supports S. 953, the “Offshore Production and Safety Act,” and the Chamber reiterates our strong opposition to S. 940, the “Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act.”
S. 953 would be an important step towards addressing domestic energy production. The bill would bring a much-needed end to the de facto moratorium on offshore oil and gas exploration and could create tens of thousands of jobs, many for American oil and gas employees who have lost their jobs due to the moratorium. Moreover, the legislation would expand opportunities for firms to produce more energy in the U.S. in an environmentally responsible manner. The Chamber supported similar legislation that was approved in the House with bipartisan support.
As stated in our “Key Vote” letter of May 16, the Chamber urges you to oppose S. 940. Levying new taxes and fees on America’s oil and gas industry has been proven to increase U.S. dependence on foreign oil, increase costs to consumers, and jeopardize U.S. jobs. The lack of more robust domestic energy production is a failure of Congress and the Administration. Legislation intended to punish energy companies for the government’s failure is misguided, unwarranted, and ultimately counterproductive.
Much of the debate on these two bills is likely to focus on issues unrelated to energy policy. For example, supporters of S. 940 assert that the legislation is intended to reduce the federal deficit. As the ongoing work of numerous commissions, public policy organizations, “gangs” of legislators, and other groups demonstrates, there are myriad complex and controversial issues that must be confronted by Congress to deal with the debt and deficit. S. 940 is not a quick fix—not for America’s deficit, and not for prices at the gas pump.
The Chamber urges the Senate focus on the relevant issue—a long term plan to expand domestic energy production and to authorize a long term, balanced, comprehensive energy policy. S. 953 is an important step towards this goal. The Chamber will consider including votes on, or in relation to, S. 940 and S. 953 – including procedural votes – in our annual How They Voted scorecard.
R. Bruce Josten