Apr 12, 2012

Big Oil Benishek Strikes Again

Congressman Dan Benishek (MI-01) told constituents this week that “there are no government subsidies for oil” despite consistently protecting Big Oil subsidies while voting to end Medicare in Washington. This is not the first time Congressman Dan Benishek defended his Big Oil benefactors who have bankrolled his campaign by the thousands. Congressman Benishek already claimed that Big Oil companies “pay their fair share” and opposed closing oil tax loopholes even as Big Oil stands to make record profits yet again.

“What part of $4 billion of taxpayer dollars for Big Oil does Congressman Dan Benishek consider nothing when he’s opted twice now to put Medicare on the chopping block?” asked Haley Morris of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “Although gas prices continue to rise, Congressman Dan Benishek has made it clear that he’s in the pocket of Big Oil companies instead of standing up for Michigan families. Congressman Benishek supports ending Medicare while protecting  $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies for Big Oil even as industry expects another record year of profits.”

BACKGROUND:

Benishek Says Big Oil Pays Its Fair Share. “Congressman Dan Benishek, R-Crystal Falls, addressed federal spending during a public forum Tuesday in Petoskey. […] ‘(Democrats) talk about raising the taxes on the oil companies. I think oil companies pay their fair share,’ Benishek said.” [Petoskey News, 8/24/11]

Oil Companies Received Roughly $4 Billion in Tax Breaks for 2011. Democrats have been trying to eliminate $4 billion worth of tax breaks enjoyed by the oil industry. Republicans have resisted efforts to eliminate these tax breaks. [CNN, 4/26/11]

Top Five Oil Companies Reported $137 Billion in Profits. The five largest oil companies—BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Royal Dutch Shell—combined made a record-high $137 billion in profits in 2011—up 75 percent from 2010—and have made more than $1 trillion in profits from 2001 through 2011. [Center for American Progress, 2/7/12]

2009: Big Oil Collected $20 Billion in Profits, Only Paid 1.2% in Taxes. In 2009, the oil and gas industry’s largest producers earned $20 billion in profits, but only paid an effective tax rate of 1.2 percent. Between 2008 and 2010, they earned roughly $126 billion in profits, but only paid an effective tax rate of 15.7 percent. [Citizens for Tax Justice & the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, 11/11]

Benishek Voted to Protect Taxpayer Subsidies to Big Oil. On March 1, 2011, House Republicans voted against a measure which would have prohibited any major integrated oil company from being eligible for any tax benefit or relief under related provisions of the tax code. [HJ Res 44, Vote #153, 3/1/11; Congressional Record, H1426, 3/1/11; 26 U.S.C. § 167(h)(5)(B)]

Benishek Prioritized Subsidies for Big Oil Over Education. On July 29, 2011, House Republicans voted against directing a bipartisan committee tasked with reducing $1.8 trillion in deficit reduction created under Speaker Boehner’s debt ceiling plan to prioritize cutting subsidies for major oil and gas companies and corporate aircraft before cutting funding for education. [S 627, Vote #676, 7/29/11; Congressional Record, H5764, 7/29/11]

Benishek Voted to Protect Taxpayer Subsidies for Big Oil. On May 5, 2011, House Republicans voted to bypass consideration of the Big Oil Welfare Repeal Act of 2011 (H.R. 1689) which would repeal key taxpayer funded subsidies for oil and gas companies. [H Res 245, Vote #293, 5/5/11; The Hill, 5/4/11; CBS News, 5/4/11; Congressional Record, H3076, 5/5/11]

Benishek Voted for the House Republican Budget that Continued Big Oil Companies Special Tax Breaks. On April 15, 2011, House Republicans voted for the FY12 Republican budget, which secured no deficit-reduction contribution at all from closing special interest tax breaks, such as tax breaks for big oil companies. [H Con Res 34, Vote #277, 4/15/11; Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, 4/20/11]

Benishek Took $59,100 From the Oil and Gas Industry. [OpenSecrets.org, accessed 4/12/12]


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