Key House votes 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Bill Archer 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Jack Brooks 0000000000*0** Jim Collins 000000*000 0000 Kika de la Garza 0 NV 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0* 0 Bob Eckhardt * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Martin Frost 0* 0 0 0 0 * 0 0 0 0 0 * * * Henry Gonzalez * * * * * * * 0 * * * * * * Phil Gramm 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0**** Sam Hall 0. * 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0* 0 0 Kent Hance 0000000000*0** Jack Hightower 0000000000*00* Abraham Kazen 0000000000*00* Marvin Leath 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Mickey Leland * * * * * * 0 0 * 0 * * * * Tom Loeffler 00000000000000 Jim Mattox 00000000*00*00 Ron Paul . 00000*’****0000 Jake Pickle 0000000000*0** Ray Roberts NVO 0 0 0 NVNV000*00* Charles Stenholm 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0** Richard White 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 * Charlie Wilson 00000 0 NV000*** * * Jim Wright 0 * 0 0 * 0 0 0 0 0 * NV * * Joe Wyatt 00 00000000*000 * The Observer agrees with this vote. * Paired. 0 The Observer disagrees with this vote. Republicans’ names in italics. NV Not voting. ‘ try’s while to expend much effort search ; ing for new oil supplies. The decontrollers attached their proposal to the same DOE spending authorization bill with an amendment sponsored by Rep. John Courter \(R-New on “mandatory allocation or price control of motor gasoline.” By bringing it up on Friday, October 12, when many members had already left for the weekend, they managed to ‘surprise the House leadership with a narrow 191-to188 victory. Only four Texas congressmen voted against decontrol: Eckhardt, Gonzalez, Leland, and Jim Wright Jack Brooks, Kika de But the House rules allow for a second vote on floor amendments just before final passage of a bill, and Dingell demanded one on October 24. This time the Courter amendment was defeated 189 to 225. The same four Texans plus Sam vote, voted for continued price controls, and they get the stars on Vote #2. 3-5. Windfall profits In the wake of oil decontrol came windfall profits, just as anticipated, and Carter proposed to take half of them as tax and spend the proceeds on subsidies to poor families to offset higher energy costs, on mass transit, and on research and development of alternative fuels. Also just as anticipated, the oil companies tried hard to circumvent the tax, their chief argument being that they need the increased revenues to search for new oil reserves. They suggested that they be allowed to keep the windfall profits if they plow them back into exploration \(Obs., But the profits are admittedly unearned, and no one seriously claims the oil companies are short of cash, so the House ways and means committee chose to go Carter one better and, with his blessing, hiked the tax rate to 70 percent. This was the version of the tax bill being debated in the House on June 28 when a substitute cutting the tax to 60 percent was offered by a couple of oil-state representatives. Heavy lobbying by the industry paid off, and their version was adopted by a 236-to-183 margin; all the Texans save three diehards voted with the majority. The stars on Vote #3 go to the diehards. A few minutes later the House turned down another chance to get tough. It dealt with the tax on “old oil.” This oil, already discovered and flowing into the pipelines at the lower, controlled price, is clearly a vehicle for gratuitous profits if the price is allowed to rise to whatever the market will bear. Under Carter’s plan, the tax on old oil was to last only until 1981, but an amendment was offered to extend the tax an extra 13 months. This was too much for Rep. Jake Pickle of Austin, who spoke against it. “It would seem to me that is being rather punitive if not mean,” said Pickle. The House apparently agreed with him, and -voted down the proposal, 172 to 241. Again, three Texas stars to those who voted with the losers on Vote #4. Industry backers had one more move planned, and this time they lost. Just before final passage of the tax bill on a voice vote, they moved to send the bill back to committee with instructions to add a “plowback” provision to it. The patent absurdity of the notion that this is needed to finance exploration is pointed up by an article in a recent Business Week magazine. The 19 largest oil companies, it seems, will reap about $25 billion in earnings for 1979 and their problem is how to spend it. Business Week says the majors added $2.5 billion to their capital budgets in the last six months, mainly for exploration, but “even this activity was not enough to sop up 1979’s surprisingly high cash flow.” The plowback proponents failed to convince their colleagues, losing 186 to 229. Stars to the four Texans who voted against plowback on Vote #5. It has been difficult all along to estimate the size of the windfall and hence the amount of tax revenues, because the world price of oil keeps rising. But the latest guess is that the excess revenue attributable to decontrol will amount to nearly $1 trillion. The differences between the two tax bills are being thrashed out in a conference committee that adjourned before Christmas and is meeting again as the Observer goes to press. The conferees have agreed to split the difference and tax the profits to the tune of about $227 billion; other details are yet to be worked out. 6-7. Synthetic fuels Synthetic fuels are different from plain old-fashioned crude oil. In their case the industry is quite satisfied with the notion of government intervention in the free market. The energy companies apparently don’t regard synfuelssynthetic oil and gas produced from coal, shale, tar sands, and other sourcesas economically viable or they would be producing them commercially themselves, but they’re perfectly willing to let the government bear the cost and risk of developing them. President Carter’s “national malaise” speech in July called for a drastic reduction of oil imports, and the heart of his plan to pull it off is an $88 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 5 ,54-. mato +,11,..,. ^.