Two Democrats in Congress introduced legislation to tax top US oil producers and importers and redistribute the collected money to Americans.
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Representative Ro Khanna (D-CA) propose a 50% tax on the difference between the current cost of a barrel and the average cost for a barrel between 2015 and 2019.
At $120-per-barrel prices, it would raise an estimated $45 billion per year. Proponents of the bill say that amounts to a tax rebate of $240 per year for a single filer and $360 for joint filers.
Khanna said the tax would incentivize energy companies to cap prices, which were already soaring before Russia invaded Ukraine and further stressed global supply.
“As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sends gas prices soaring, fossil-fuel companies are raking in record profits,” he said. “These companies have made billions and used the profits to enrich their own shareholders while average Americans are hurting at the pump.”
The proposal, which is being called the Big Oil Windfall Profits Tax, is supported by about a dozen Senate Democrats and two additional House Democrats. No Republicans have signed on to the proposal.