The White House this week endorsed a one penny-per-barrel increase in fees paid by petroleum companies to cover future damage claims. But House tax writers are shooting beyond that in hopes of raising closer to $10 billion over the next decade to meet their budget targets.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) wants to take the package to the Rules Committee as early as next Tuesday. Driving this schedule is the fact that a host of social safety net provisions are scheduled to expire in June. These include jobless and health insurance assistance for the long-term unemployed and, if no action is taken, a 21 percent cut in Medicare payments to physicians will go into effect.