GOP Blocks Profit Tax on Oil Companies

Senators favor new US drilling over Dems' plan for 'energy relief'
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 10, 2008 1:59 PM CDT
Democrats Max Baucus, D-Mont., left, Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., center, and Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., discuss today's failed Senate vote on a windfall tax for oil companies.    (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Senate Republicans today fended off a Democrat-sponsored bill that would have heaped a 25% tax on the five biggest US oil companies and rolled back other tax breaks for the industry, the Houston Chronicle reports. President Bush had threatened to veto the measure, hailed by Dems as "energy price relief" and for which Republicans predicted "abject failure."

The bill also sought to curb speculation by traders in the oil markets and make price-gouging a federal crime. The Republicans instead advocate oil exploration and drilling in areas currently off-limits, such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.