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Boehner: Oil Companies Share Blame for Gas Prices, Open to Cutting Subsidies

Comstock Images/Thinkstock)(HAMILTON, Ohio) -- At a time of skyrocketing gas prices and near-record profits for oil companies, House Speaker John Boehner made a major concession Monday: Congress should consider cutting multi-billion-dollar subsidies to oil companies.

"Everybody wants to go after the oil companies and, frankly, they've got some part of this to blame," the Ohio Republican told ABC News Monday.

Blame aside, what about the cold, hard cash -- the billions of dollars in tax breaks and other subsidies big oil receives every year? President Obama has proposed doing away with many of them, which he says would save $45 billion over the next 10 years.

"It's certainly something we should be looking at," Boehner said. "We're in a time when the federal government's short on revenues. They ought to be paying their fair share."

That is a departure for the speaker on an issue that Republicans have long defended as necessary to encourage domestic oil production.

Republicans have a plan that Boehner says could begin bringing gas prices down right way. It would encourage exploration and new domestic production and curb the EPA's ability to impose restrictions on the oil and gas markets. He argued the Republican plan would send an important message to the market.

"I think if we began to allow -- more permits for oil and gas production it would send a signal to the market that America's serious about moving toward energy independence. That signal, in and of itself -- would -- would calm these prices down quite a bit," Boehner said.

The speaker said that while he wanted to "take a look" at oil subsidies. He also wanted to "see all the facts" first.

"I don't want to hear a bunch of political rhetoric," Boehner said. "I want to know what impact this is going have on job creation here in America."

Boehner made his comments in a wide-ranging, exclusive interview with ABC News as he toured the Innovative Labeling Solutions factory in Hamilton, Ohio, and Rebco Inc. in Greenville, Ohio, which designs and builds commercial agriculture equipment.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 

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