Entries in Oil Subsidies (7)


Obama’s Weekly Address – Investing in Clean Energy

Official White House Photo/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama is calling for Congress to end $4 billion in subsidies to oil and gas companies, and invest in clean energy instead, arguing that decreasing the nation’s dependence on oil will ease the pain at the pump.

“We’ve been handing out these kinds of taxpayer giveaways for nearly a century. And outside Congress, does anyone really think that’s still a good idea?” the president asked in his weekly address.

“We should be investing in the technology that’s building the cars and trucks and jets that will prevent us from dealing with these high gas prices year after year after year,” he said.

As rising gas prices become a key issue on the campaign trail, the president continued to defend his “all-of-the-above” energy strategy against Republican attacks.

“As usual, politicians have been rolling out their three-point plans for $2 gas: drill, drill and drill some more. Well, my response is, we have been drilling,” the president said. “Under my administration, oil production in America is at an eight-year high.”

Obama, speaking from a manufacturing facility in Petersburg, Va., that he visited Friday, vowed to “keep doing everything I can to help you save money on gas, both right now and in the future.”

“I hope politicians from both sides of the aisle join me. Let’s put aside the bumper-sticker slogans, remember why we’re here, and get things done for the American people,” he concluded.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Lawmakers Pounce on Oil Subsidies, Offshore Drilling

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Congress is hustling into action mode as Americans grow increasingly agitated with high gasoline prices, but there are few signs of a bipartisan consensus.  Nor is there much indication that Washington can help with a problem that's being driven largely by global supply-and-demand economics.

The Senate on Wednesday will vote on a bill crafted by Republicans to expand offshore oil production.  The legislation -- expected to fail -- comes a day after an effort by Democrats to repeal roughly $2 billion a year in tax breaks for the five largest oil and gas conglomerates was also unsuccessful.

Separately, the Republican-dominated House has passed three bills that would expand offshore oil and gas drilling.

President Obama last week approved the extension of oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico and off of Alaska's coast. However, his critics charge Obama's approvals are hollow, as he's assured the EPA will block any actual drilling.

None of these measures will provide a quick fix to the issue of high gasoline prices, and the various legislations amount to little more than political posturing, experts say.

"There is practically nothing that Washington can do to lower prices at the pump," said Pavel Molchanov, an analyst at Raymond James, a financial advisory group.  "The reality is the price of fuel is overwhelmingly set by the global oil market, by supply-and-demand dynamics, geopolitical risks... It's not helpful for policymakers to pretend otherwise."

Even lawmakers have acknowledged that Congressional bills may have little impact on the price of oil today.

"We don't seem to learn from our mistakes," Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said at a hearing Tuesday.  "Unless we have an energy policy...we're going to continue to go down this for the next 20 to 30 years.  We need to break this cycle."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Top Oil Executives Face Off with Lawmakers in Subsidy Battle

Comstock Images/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Executives of the top five oil companies will testify before the Senate Finance Committee Thursday to explain why they need billions of dollars in subsidies when they are making record profits.

Some Democrats are opposed to the executives' request and have proposed a new bill called the Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act, while will scrap $2 billion in tax subsidies each year for the five largest and most profitable oil companies and, in turn, apply the savings to paying down the federal deficit. 

John Watson, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Chevron Corporation; Marvin Odum, U.S. President of Shell Oil; H. Lamar McKay, Chairman and Presidnt of BP America Inc.; James Mulva, Chairman and CEO of ConocoPhillips; and Rex Tillerson, Chairman and CEO of Exxon Mobil, are expected to attend the hearing to defend their need for subsidies.

Democrats will mostly likely face an uphill battle in passing their measure.  It will need 60 votes to advance, a long shot in a chamber where there are only 53 Democrats and even some of them -- like Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu -- don’t support the measure.  Republicans have vociferously opposed the bill.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said he plans to hold a vote on the subsidy issue sometime next week.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Rep. Paul Ryan Backs Ending Oil Subsidies

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- As oil companies announced soaring profits for the first quarter of 2011, political leaders in Washington stepped up their calls for reforming government issued subsidies and tax breaks to oil companies. In an interview for ABC’s This Week, host Christiane Amanpour pressed House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., about these subsidies.

"Would you back ending subsidies to oil companies?" Amanpour asked.

"Oh yes," said Rep. Ryan. "I think we should clean up all those loopholes. And don't forget, there's a lot of corporate welfare spending that is in our budget put in there by both political parties because of powerful interests. We want to get rid of all that."

Ryan's comments come as President Obama dedicated his weekly address to encouraging Congress to eradicate oil subsidies.

"I do have a problem with the unwarranted taxpayer subsidies we've been handing out to oil and gas companies – to the tune of $4 billion a year," President Obama said in his address released on Saturday. "When oil companies are making huge profits and you're struggling at the pump, and we're scouring the federal budget for spending we can afford to do without, these tax giveaways aren't right. They aren't smart. And we need to end them."

Rep. Ryan insisted that his proposed budget would discourage these loopholes and eliminate them for industries beyond simply oil companies.

"What our budget does is we go after corporate welfare spending," Ryan told Amanpour. "There's corporate welfare spending on energy companies, both green and fossil energy companies. There's corporate welfare on large agri-business. There's corporate welfare on large financial companies. We want to get rid of all that corporate welfare."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Pelosi Writes Boehner, Demands Vote to End Oil & Gas Subsidies

Bill Clark/Roll Call via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is joining the president’s call for Congress to act to eliminate taxpayer subsidies for big oil and gas companies, demanding that Republicans schedule a floor vote on the issue quickly once Congress returns from recess May 2.

Reacting to Boehner’s comments in an exclusive interview with ABC News Monday that big oil companies “ought to be paying their fair share" and that “they've got some part of this to blame,” Pelosi wrote in a letter obtained by ABC News to House Speaker John Boehner that “House Democrats have long advocated eliminating outdated and costly taxpayer subsidies that provide billions of dollars to highly profitable oil companies.”

“Your comments yesterday acknowledged that oil companies ought to be paying their fair share,” Pelosi, D-Calif., wrote. “It makes little sense for American consumers -- who are now paying over $4 a gallon for gasoline in most parts of the United States -- to have billions of their taxpayer dollars subsidizing oil companies that are making record profits.”

Pelosi called on Boehner to “schedule a vote on ending these tax breaks on the House floor” upon Congress’s return from recess next week.

Earlier Tuesday, the president wrote the top leadership in both houses of Congress to respond to Boehner’s comments, in which the speaker said reviewing which companies receive oil subsidies is "certainly something we should be looking at."

The House is already expected to take up three different energy-related bills aimed at freeing up domestic energy production, but a spokesman from the Office of the Speaker told ABC News that “what the President has suggested so far would simply raise taxes and increase the price at the pump.”

“The Speaker wants to increase the supply of American energy and reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and he is only interested in reforms that actually lower energy costs and create American jobs,” Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


What Can Obama Do Right Now to Bring Sanity to Gas Prices?

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama has been asked the question on the minds of most Americans: "What can you do right now, immediately, to bring sanity to gas prices?"

During an interview with ABC affiliate WXYZ in the Map Room of the White House, the president referenced a letter he sent Tuesday to House Speaker John Boehner, Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid  and other congressional leaders regarding tax subsidies oil companies get for exploration. Obama urged Congress to take “immediate action” to eliminate unwarranted tax breaks for the oil and gas industry.

“Right now we give about $4 billion in subsidies to oil companies through the tax code,” Obama said to WXYZ. “Well that makes no sense. Even their CEOs have admitted that when prices are like they are now they don’t need any more incentive to pump for more oil. So we’ve got to make sure that we take those $4 billion and reinvest it in things like alternative energy vehicles.”

Boehner had sounded open to ending the subsidies in an interview Monday with ABC's Jonathan Karl. But Tuesday he rejected the president's letter because, according to his spokesman, raising taxes on oil companies would lead to higher gas prices for Americans.

“We’ve got a real problem here,” he said. “This is obviously something that is affecting everybody. And we are looking at every option that is out there in terms of dealing with it. Now I tried to be honest with the American people when I made a presentation a couple weeks ago and I said there’s no silver bullet.”

The president said that there are a few things that have been done to help, broadly speaking and more long term -- including working with the auto industry to increase fuel efficiency standards on cars, and making investments in alternative fuel vehicles.

“And we’ve got to continue to increase production,” Obama added. “We can do that in a safe and effective way. We don’t want to repeat of the oil spill that we had in the Gulf last year. But we’ve got to continue to make sure that U.S. production is strong.”

The president said that they are also in “a lot of conversations with major oil producers” like Saudi Arabia to “let them know that it’s not going to be good...if our economy is hobbled because of high oil prices.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


President Obama Urges Congress to Eliminate Oil Company Subsidies

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama sent a letter to congressional leaders Tuesday, saying he was "heartened" by House Speaker John Boehner's statement that Congress should consider cutting the multi-billion-dollar subsidies to oil companies, and urging lawmakers to act.

The president said Congress should "take immediate action to eliminate unwarranted tax breaks for the oil and gas industry and use the dollars to invest in clean energy."

Boehner had stunned Washington on Monday when he told ABC News that cutting the subsidies to oil companies is "certainly something we should be looking at."

"We are in a time when the federal government's short on revenues. We need to control spending, but we need to have revenues to get the government moving," Boehner said. "They ought to be paying their fair share."

Congressional Democrats pounced on the issue Tuesday. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., applauded Boehner for "see[ing] the light" on the "insanity of providing subsidies to profit-soaked big oil companies."

The topic dominated the White House press briefing.

"Immediate action means what it says, which is when Congress comes back, let's take action legislatively to eliminate those subsidies," White House spokesman Jay Carney said. "[It's] hard to argue that given where the price of oil is now that there's a need for subsidies of the oil and gas industry."

Carney was referring to a statement earlier this year by former Shell CEO John Hofmeister, in which he said, "In the face of sustained high oil prices, it was not an issue for large companies of needing the subsidies to entice us into looking for and producing more oil."

In all, the tax breaks, many designed to encourage more exploration, cost taxpayers more than $4 billion a year in lost revenue -- enough for 1.4 million Americans to buy a tank full of gas every week for an entire year.

However, the oil companies do have friends in Congress, and the president's letter demanding immediate action hit with a thud. Boehner and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell rejected the proposal. Boehner's spokesman said the plan was insufficient because it would "only raise taxes and increase prices at the pump."

ABC News asked the 10 members of Congress who received the most campaign contributions from the oil industry in the last election if they'd be willing to cut the tax breaks. Most have yet to respond, and through a spokesman Sen. David Vitter, R-La., told ABC News that he'd only be open to eliminating tax breaks if tax rates were also lowered.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 

ABC News Radio