Federal government relief should focus on addressing coronavirus and supporting working families


Washington (March 13, 2020) – Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today decried any plan to bail out fossil fuel executives as part of the national coronavirus response. Reports indicate that his administration is considering strategies like low-interest loans, royalty relief, tax breaks, or strategic petroleum reserve purchases to help oil companies, many of which are already in debt and have lost access to credit from major financial institutions. In a letter sent today to President Donald Trump, the Senators point to the fact that many of these oil companies are already deeply in debt and have their lost lines of credit at financial institutions noting it would be both bad business and bad policy for the government to use the coronavirus crisis as an excuse to grant executives a new windfall.


“The effect that this disease is having on the American workforce, health care system, and economy is clearly illustrating the ramifications of this administration’s erosion of our safety net programs and its poor response to the crisis,” write Senators Markey, Merkley, and Sanders in their letter to President Trump. “These are actual crises that require urgent action; the loss of value of oil executives’ stock options is not. Oil companies already receive billions of dollars each year in subsidies through tax exemptions, royalty relief, and other government handouts. We can better protect oil industry workers through policies that support workforce rights and a just, collaborative, and deliberative transition to a clean energy economy.”


A copy of the letter can be found HERE.