Campaign Promises

Cabinet/Departments -> Energy -> Windfall Profits

Windfall ProfitsGrade
The Promise: "I'll make oil companies like Exxon pay a tax on their windfall profits, and we'll use the money to help families pay for their skyrocketing energy costs and other bills."
When/Where: Campaign Speech, Raleigh, NC, 06/09/08.
Status:This promise was made in 06/08 when U.S. crude oil prices reached $151.72 per barrel. On 12/31/16, that price had fallen to $53.72 per barrel.

On 05/10/11, Senate Democrats announced a plan to eliminate tax breaks for the nation's five biggest oil companies. The "Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act" (S 258 and S. 940) introduced by Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) on 02/02/11 and 05/10/11 respectively failed to progress beyond preliminary committee review.

Another opportunity to accomplish the elimination of tax breaks for the oil industry also presented itself when a supercommittee was appointed in 08/11 to trim $1.2T from the national budget, an initiative that failed to materialize by the mandated 11/23/11 deadline for the supercommittee to deliver on its obligation.

Initiatives to close big oil tax loopholes were also included in the "Clean Energy Jobs Act of 2012" (H.R. 4108) introduced by Congresswoman Shelley Berkley (D-NV) on 02/29/12. This and other related bills did not get past preliminary committee reviews and expired with the 112th Congress.

On 08/04/15, Senator Menendez reintroduced the "Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act" (S. 1907) during the 114th Congress. That bill would repeal tax subsidies for the "Big 5" oil companies and raise $22B in savings towards deficit reduction over 10 years. According to, this bill has no chance of being enacted into law.

It should be noted the top 25 oil and gas companies on the Forbes Global 2000 reaped $2.6 trillion in sales during the 04/15-04/16 measurement period and pocketed $81 billion in profit during that 12-month period.

This promise was not fulfilled.