Good news from Capitol Hill:

The U.S. Department of Energy said it would like to see portions of large profits that oil companies have been posting used for increasing energy production.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, has called for oil and gas companies to devote a portion of their nearly $100 billion profits in the latest quarter to families who could see a 50-percent hike in heating bills this winter.

Grassley has sent letters to three oil companies asking them to contribute 10 percent of their profits to the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program or similar state- or utility-run plans.

But they aren’t forcing anybody. Probably a good deal, but will it be enough?

The Bush administration is encouraging charitable giving at a company’s discretion but is against a tax on the companies’ profits, citing problems caused by windfall taxes implemented in the 1980s.

Business Republicans To Big Oil: “Pony Up Some Profits”