Bowman, along with Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and Representative Ro Khanna of California, are pushing for their fellow Democrats to pursue an additional levy on the profits earned by oil and gas companies after energy prices spiked. And they want to send that additional revenue to low-and-middle income households.
Democrats, who control both the Congress and White House, are feeling pressure to act after gas prices surged above $5 a gallon. President Joe Biden’s advisers say they are considering the windfall-profit tax idea as they look at a a wide range of strategies to address the broad surge in living costs.
That tax idea faces large obstacles in Congress, however, where it would require unanimous support from the Senate Democratic caucus. Democrats have recently started re-engaging in negotiations for a budget bill that would include new climate-related spending and an increase in taxes on the wealthy and corporations.
However, Senator Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat central to those budget negotiations, has been hesitant to support measures that are seen as punitive to fossil fuel companies.
The progressives’ plan for a steep new tax on energy companies, coupled with rebate checks to Americans, is one of several new levies on oil companies that Democrats are developing. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden is also crafting a more targeted plan that would double the taxes on energy earnings above a 10% return.