WASHINGTON – Responding to the massive BP oil spill, Congress is getting ready to quadruple – to 32 cents a barrel – a tax on oil used to help finance clean-ups. The increase would raise nearly $11 billion over the next decade.
The tax is levied on oil produced in the U.S. or imported from foreign countries. The revenue goes to a fund managed by the Coast Guard to help pay to clean up spills in waterways.
The tax increase is part of a larger bill that has grown into a nearly $200 billion grab bag of unfinished business that lawmakers hope to complete before Memorial Day. The key provisions are a one-year extension of about 50 popular tax breaks that expired at the end of last year, and expanded unemployment benefits, including subsidies for health insurance, through the end of the year.
The House could vote on the bill as early as Wednesday.