Orrin Hatch Defends SUV's, Minivans and Oil Company Tax Breaks

ABC's Z. Byron Wolf ( @zbyronwolf ) reports:

Oil company executives have only just started testifying on Capitol Hill. They’ll face questions from Democrats who want to do away with tax breaks for oil companies that are mean to increase production and exploration for oil – and net $21 billion for the government over the next ten years.

But the oil company executives aren’t the only ones defending the tax incentives. Sen. Orrin Hatch, the ranking Republican on the Committee, gave a long, detailed, and at times funny speech during which he said the hearings are a dog and pony show with the help of a large picture of a dog sitting atop a pony. Read more here about the hearing and Democrats’ plan to raise taxes on oil companies.

“I know which one the horses ass is,” Hatch said, apparently referring to the photo, before clarifying he shouldn’t use such language because his wife will get mad at him.

Hatch defended Americans who want to drive minivans and SUVs – they have kids, he argued, and need the space. He said that raising taxes on an industry because they make profits is unfair.

“What if an increase in demand for coffee results in Starbucks reporting record profits?”

Hatch said that raising taxes on oil companies would raise prices even further, essentially raising taxes on Americans too. Higher taxes are not what the country needs, he said, arguing that a more comprehensive energy policy that expands production of all kinds of energy would work to solve the problem of high gas prices.

“I would be doing a grave disservice to my constituents if I were to ignore the consequences of these tax increases,” he said.

Hatch carried on for a while and at one point, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D – West Virginia, interrupted to ask if he was about done.

“No I'm not through yet. And I'm not going to be through when I’m through,” Hatch shot back, before adding, “But I’m almost through.”

Watch Hatch’s speech here:

UPDATE: As a rejoinder to Hatch's argument that the hearing was a dog and pony show, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, said, "You’d have an easier time convincing the American people that a unicorn just flew into this hearing room."

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