(AP) President Joe Biden on Monday will raise the possibility of imposing a ‘windfall tax’ on energy companies, as his administration aims to combat high gas prices just days before the midterm elections.
The White House said Biden will deliver remarks to respond “to reports over recent days of major oil companies making record-setting profits even as they refuse to help lower prices at the pump for the American people.” A person familiar with the matter said Biden will float imposing a tax on the profits of energy companies, as he seeks to pressure them to lower prices for consumers. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity to preview Biden’s remarks.
“Oil companies made billions in profits this quarter,” Biden tweeted on Saturday. “They’re using these record profits to pay out their wealthy shareholders instead of investing in production and lowering costs for Americans. It’s unacceptable. It’s time for these companies to bring down prices at the pump.”
High prices at the pump have exacerbated inflation and have taken a toll on Biden and Democrats’ standing among voters.
Congress would have to approve any additional taxes on the energy producers — which would be a tall order in the current Congress where Democrats have narrow control of the House and Senate, and even less likely should Republicans retake one or both chambers on Nov. 8.
Last week Exxon Mobil broke records with its profits in the third quarter, raking in $19.66 billion in net income, and Chevron had $11.23 billion in profits, almost reaching the record profits it attained in the prior quarter.
Americans have struggled with painfully high gasoline prices in recent months, paying more than $4.80 on average for a gallon of regular at the beginning of July, according to AAA. They’ve since fallen to $3.76 on average nationally, but the White House says they should be lower, given declines in global oil prices over the same period.
“Can’t believe I have to say this but giving profits to shareholders is not the same as bringing prices down for American families,” Biden tweeted on Friday.
Biden has been critical of energy companies profits since at least June, when he complained publicly that “Exxon made more money than God this year.”