“It’s past time we end the billions of taxpayer subsidies to fossil-fuel companies,” Omar said in a statement. “Our focus right now needs to be on getting the American people through this difficult, unprecedented time, not providing giveaways to polluters.”
The bill, dubbed the End Polluter Welfare Act of 2020, is unlikely to gain much traction in Congress, where the House is controlled by business-friendly Democrats and Republicans hold the Senate. Even if it passed against all odds, President Donald Trump, a fossil fuel hard-liner, would almost certainly veto it.
But the legislation ― co-authored in the House by Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-Calif.) and by Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) ― collates the federal fossil fuel support in one place, painting a target on the sources of funding for future legislative efforts.
The bill also calls for a halt to research spending on fossil fuels and financing for new projects overseas. The authors estimate the legislation would save $150 billion over the next decade, money it would earmark for subsidizing poor Americans’ utility bills and guaranteeing the Black Lung Disability Fund for coal miners.
“At a time when we are dealing with the coronavirus pandemic and an economic decline, it is absurd to provide billions of taxpayer subsidies that pad fossil-fuel companies’ already-enormous profits,” Sanders said in an emailed statement. “Big Oil made more than $2 trillion in profits over the last two decades. We need more safe, healthy, good paying jobs — not more corporate polluter giveaways.”
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