Do Americans Want 'Shared Sacrifice? Big Oil Exec Says No


ConocoPhillips CEO James Mulva said he couldn't answer the question, saying, "They're two totally very different questions."

"But we have to weigh those two things, Mr. Mulva. We have to weigh it because we have to get the deficit down to a certain level," Schumer said.

Mulva also refused to apologize for a ConocoPhillips statement this week categorizing those who want to increase taxes for the big oil companies as "un-American."

The oil executives said the bill would not help lower gas prices, a point House Speaker John Boehner echoed in his press conference today.

"We all know that going after oil companies is easy politics, but we also know that if this bill were to pass it wouldn't lower gas prices one penny," Boehner said.

The Senate is set to vote on the measure sometime in the next week, but its chances of passing appear slim to none. The measure will need 60 votes to pass, a tall order in a chamber where there are only 53 Democrats and even some of them -- such as Alaska's Mark Begich and Louisiana's Mary Landrieu -- don't support the measure.

"It's a gimmick," Begich railed on the Senate floor Wednesday, denouncing the bill as "good fodder for the news" but nothing more.

Landrieu, meanwhile, said the bill would not "reduce the price of gas by one penny." It was not the first time the Louisiana lawmaker has blasted attempts to target the industry.

"Every time the companies start making money, people want to tax what they get. But when they're losing money, no one wants to help them because of this sort of bias against oil and gas companies which comes from some sector, you know, of our democracy," Landrieu said at a March 10 news conference.

"We want to create more millionaires in America. We want to create more wealth in America, so we've got to be careful about continuing to pick on this industry every time somebody is looking for a dime around Washington, D.C.," she added.

Republicans have lined up in opposition to the Democrats' new bill.

"Every time gas prices go up, Democrats claim there's nothing they can do about it," the Senate's top Republican, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said Monday. "Then they propose something completely counterproductive just to quiet their critics. This time it's a tax increase. That is the Democrat response to high gas prices: a tax hike.

"Well, the first thing to say about this proposal is that it won't do a thing to lower gas prices. In fact, raising taxes on American energy production will increase the price of gas. Oh, and it would also make us even more dependent on foreign sources of oil.

"That's not my view," he added. "That's the view of the independent Congressional Research Service, which concluded in March that the Democrat's proposed tax increase on energy production would, 'make oil and natural gas more expensive for U.S. consumers and likely increase foreign dependence.' Sounds like a brilliant strategy."

Across Capitol Hill, House Republicans have shown little appetite to back what could be seen as a vote to raise taxes. Boehner told ABC News in an exclusive interview last month that oil companies deserve a share of the blame for rising gasoline prices and that he believes reviewing oil subsidies is "certainly something we should be looking at."

But Boehner later backed off the comments and indicated that he does not want to consider the Democrats' bill.

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