Democrats warn against potential big oil bailouts

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Democrats want to stop pumping taxpayer money into the flagging oil industry. 

The bottom fell out of the oil market and oil prices dropped to unprecedented levels when the coronavirus pandemic shut down the U.S. economy. 

President Trump moved quickly to shore up the oil industry by ordering the purchase of undeveloped oil (oil still in the ground) for the national stockpile because the government has no place to put it. Republicans like South Dakota Senator John Thune think the oil industry will need more help. 

“Hard-working Americans at these companies who have helped usher in a modern energy renaissance are now in limbo and Congress needs to make sure we preserve our energy dominance and security,” Thune said. 

But Democrats don’t want tax payers to pay for the bailout. 

“The administration is trying to use this crisis to hide massive subsidies to fossil fuel companies,” said Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley. “The fed should not be using its $4 trillion slush fund to bail out failing fossil fuel companies that completely over-leveraged themselves in an insane fashion.” 

Merkley and other Democrats have introduced the Rewind Act. The bill would limit the size of the strategic oil reserve to its actual capacity, block banks from buying out failed oil fracking companies and put a moratorium on land leases for oil exploration and drilling. 

Merkley believes the country should instead move away from fossil fuels. 

“We should be investing in the economy of the future: renewable energy,” he said, adding that doing so would create jobs and be better for the health of the planet.