April 28, 2006

Senate Republican energy plan has merit: Bodman

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A plan by Senate Republicans to
soften the blow of rising gasoline prices by giving taxpayers a
$100 check and suspending a retail fuel tax has merit, U.S.
Energy Secretary Sam Bodman said Friday.

Bodman's comments to CBS television were taken as an
indication the White House could support a proposal advanced by
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist on Thursday.

"It certainly has merit," Bodman told CBS. "Whenever you
have a proposal of that sort there's always the question of
unintended consequences, so we will be doing analysis."

Frist's bill would give all but the wealthiest U.S.
taxpayers a $100 check to ease the burden of high pump prices.

It would suspend until September 30 the
18.4-cent-per-gallon retail gasoline tax. The measure would be
aimed at helping consumers during the summer months, the
heaviest driving season in the United States.

However, Bodman reiterated the White House will not support
a plan to tax oil industry profits, which some Democrats have

"There are a couple of things that we know don't work --
that is one of them," Bodman said.