Warren Argues Windfall Profits Tax Can Help Democrats Avert Big Midterm Losses

With the pivotal 2022 midterms just months away, Sen. Elizabeth Warren warned in a New York Times op-ed Monday that Democrats are “headed toward big losses” if they fail to deliver on the promises that helped them win control of Congress and the presidency — including tax hikes on massive corporations.

The Massachusetts Democrat argued that “passing a windfall profits tax” on the fossil fuel companies benefiting massively from global energy chaos — a proposal that is overwhelmingly popular with U.S. voters — would be a “good start” as the majority party looks to prevent the GOP from retaking the House and Senate in November.

“Oil and gas companies should not make gobs of money off this energy crisis,” Warren wrote, pointing to survey data showing that 75% of U.S. voters agree with that sentiment.

“Time is running short,” Warren continued. “We need to finalize a budget reconciliation deal, making giant corporations pay their share to fund vital investments in combating climate change and lowering costs for families, which can advance with only 50 Senate votes.”

Warren’s op-ed came as much of her party’s social spending and climate agenda, known as the Build Back Better Act, remains stalled in the Senate due to opposition from a unified Republican caucus as well as Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).

Last month, a group of Democrats including Warren introduced legislation that would impose a tax on oil giants that are reaping huge profits as they hike prices at the pump, using Russia’s war on Ukraine as a justification. The bill has yet to receive a vote in either the House or the Senate.

“Like many Americans, I’m frustrated by our failure to get big things done — things that are both badly needed and very popular with all Americans,” Warren wrote Monday. “While Republican politicians obstruct many efforts to improve people’s lives and many swear loyalty to the Big Lie, the urgency of the next election bears down on us.”

“Democrats cannot bow to the wisdom of out-of-touch consultants who recommend we simply tout our accomplishments,” she added. “Instead, Democrats need to deliver more of the president’s agenda — or else we will not be in the majority much longer.”

In addition to stressing the urgency of congressional action, Warren noted that there is much President Joe Biden can do unilaterally to deliver relief to people across the United States — including younger voters, a key Democratic constituency that has been souring on the president as he fails to deliver on his promises of bold climate action and student debt cancellation.

“By a margin of more than two-to-one, Americans support providing some student loan debt cancellation — an action the president could take entirely on his own,” Warren noted. “Doing so would lift the economic outlook for too many borrowers who weren’t able to get a college diploma, for the millions of women borrowers who shoulder about two-thirds of all student loan debt, and for Black and Hispanic borrowers, a higher percentage of whom take on debt to attend college compared to white students, and have a harder time paying it off after school.”

“And he can do more,” Warren continued. “Decisive action on everything from lowering prescription drug prices to ensuring that more workers are eligible for overtime pay can be executed by the president alone, using the authority already given to him by existing laws, without rounding up 50 Senate votes.”

Warren’s message appeared in the Times on Tax Day, which Senate Democrats’ campaign arm is using to attack the GOP tax agenda outlined by Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.).

In February, Scott — the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee — unveiled a proposal that would increase annual taxes on the poorest 40% of people in the U.S. by $1,000 on average.

As The Hill reported Monday, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) marked Tax Day by “rolling out billboards in Florida and Wisconsin, hitting Republicans over” Scott’s plan.

“If Senate Republicans have their way, hard-working Americans — including seniors, families with children, and individuals making less than $40,000 per year — would all have to pay more when they file their taxes today,” DSCC spokesperson Nora Keefe told The Hill.