Biden’s Critique of Big Oil Won’t Have Teeth Without Windfall Tax, Activists Say

President Joe Biden used Wednesday as his Wednesday. speechAt the White House to criticize fossil fuel companies for making huge profits at U.S. consumer’s expense, who are being cheated by high pump prices

But instead of calling for a specific policy solution that would force the industry’s hand, Biden asked oil companies to voluntarily stop padding their bottom lines and instead “pass the savings on to consumers.”

“So far, American oil companies are using that windfall, the windfall of profits, to buy back their own stock, passing that money on to their shareholders, not to consumers,” the president said. “When the cost of oil comes down, we should see the price at the gas station, at the pump, come down as well. That’s how it’s supposed to work. But that’s not what’s happening.”

The president’s latest energy address marked a continuation of his approach to countering fossil fuel industry profiteering thus far, one that has focused more on pleading with oil company executives to do what’s best for consumers than aggressively pursuing legislative and executive action to compel fossil fuel giants to constrain prices.

Jamie Henn is Fossil Free Media’s director. welcomed Biden’s direct call-out of the industry’s surging profitsPermanent share buybacks, but added that he now needs to “tell Congress to pass a Big Oil windfall profits tax!”

Stop the Oil Profiteering Campaign echoedThis is the message.

“The price gouging from Big Oil is unacceptable and that’s exactly why we need a Big Oil windfall profits tax — the most simple first step to stop this profiteering and deliver immediate relief to working people across the country,” the campaign said.

The Biden White House has reportedly mulled supportingThe administration has yet not to endorse legislation that Democrats have introduced in the Senate and House, which would allow for a private windfall profits tax. forcefully advocatedRecent months.

Survey data shows that taxing oil giants to make windfall profits is hugely popular in the United States. signaled it wantsPoliticians and candidates must crackdown on corporate profiteering which is driving up the prices in the economy.

Campaigners and strategists are urging the Biden administration, especially as Republicans approach the midterms, to support a windfall profit tax as part its economic messaging. hammer away on inflation attacksEven as their party threatens them make the problem worseBy offering giveaways to the wealthy

A recent memo, Democratic strategist Mike Lux argued that “there is not a reason in the world Democrats need to be defensive or mushy about their plan for inflation,” noting that a “populist message on the issue has been tested repeatedly by the smartest pollsters in the business… and it works.”

Lux wrote that a top messaging point for Democrats should be that “wealthy corporations with monopoly power are jacking up their prices, and their profits are going through the roof.”

“Big oil, food, shipping, healthcare, and real estate companies have been making record profits over the last two years,” Lux implored Democratic candidates to say. “I will crack down on price gouging, but to be clear—my opponent has proposed nothing to combat this abuse.”

The House passed the Consumer Fuel Price Gouging Prevention Act earlier in the year. legislation that proposes giving Biden emergency authority to combat “unconscionably excessive” price hikes by oil and gas companies. Not a single Republican voted for the bill, which hasn’t received a vote in the Senate.

However, Congress has not voted on tax legislation for windfall profits, even though oil companies are among them. continue to reportUnprecedented profits

Rep. Ro Khanna’s (D-Calif.) Big Oil Windfall Profits Tax ActOnly 23 House members are co-sponsors of the House bill that would levy a per-barrel levy upon profitable oil companies and pay out a quarterly rebate for consumers.

A separate proposal introduced in August by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), chair of the Senate Finance Committee, would “double the tax rate of Big Oil’s excess profits” and impose a tax on stock buybacks.

The bill has been 13 co-sponsors in the Senate, including Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.)—but it hasn’t come up for a vote.

“While you pay through the nose at the gas pump, Big Oil is lining its pockets,” former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich said Wednesday. “How are they using their record profits? They’re not using their record profits to increase production or lower gas price. They’re spending billions on stock buybacks.”

“What can we do about it? Hit Big Oil with a windfall profits tax,” Reich added.