So a new era of politics has dawned in Washington as yesterday we witnessed history in the making. Nancy Pelosi became the first female speaker of the House and Democrats took control of Congress for the first time in a dozen years.
“This is an historic moment,” Pelosi said. “It’s an historic moment for the Congress. It’s an historic moment for the women of America. It is a moment for which we have waited for over 200 years.”
The Democrats have promised a new era of cooperation after years of political gridlock. There will be contentious issues that divide the parties though, not least Iraq and energy. The Washington Post has reported how The Democrats will introduce an energy package towards the end of the “100 hours” of legislative initiatives.
According to the Post: “Democrats are crafting an energy package that would roll back billions of dollars worth of oil drilling incentives, raise billions more by boosting federal royalties paid by oil and gas companies for offshore production, and plow the money into new tax breaks for renewable energy sources”.
Amongst issues the Democrats are targeting are
· A manufacturing tax cut in 2004 that they say gave unneeded incentives to the oil industry, that would generate nearly $5 billion.
· Forcing oil companies to pay royalties on deepwater Gulf of Mexico tracts leased in 1998 and 1999; the Interior Department has said that the leases inadvertently failed to include provisions for royalty payments once oil prices rose above certain thresholds. Back payments could amount to $900 million to $2 billion, according to the General Accounting Office.
Could be interesting times ahead…