Entries in Shell (2)


Oil Execs Back Subsidies, Deny Being Out of Touch

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Americans don't expect the oil industry to help reduce the budget deficit, the CEO of Chevron told Congress Thursday as lawmakers consider cutting billions in government subsidies to big oil companies.

"I don't think American people want shared sacrifice," John Watson, CEO of Chevron, said at a Senate Finance Committee hearing. "I think they want shared prosperity."

"I'm not out of touch at all," said Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon Mobil. "We do understand the big picture. We do understand the enormous challenges confronting the American people with respect to this enormous deficit that has to be dealt with."

But Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said the oil companies' unwillingness to turn over their tax subsidies showed they were "out of touch."

"I think you're out of touch, deeply profoundly out of touch and deeply and profoundly committed to sharing nothing," Rockefeller said. "You never lose. You've never lost. You always prevail."

Senate Democrats pounded executives from the country's five largest and most profitable oil companies – BP America, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil and Shell – about accepting taxpayer subsidies while gas prices continue to rise. It is all part of an effort by Democrats to push a new bill that would scrap tax breaks for the five companies, the biggest and most profitable ones in the country. Democrats want to cut about $2 billion per year in tax subsidies for the companies and use the savings to pay down the nation's soaring federal deficit.

But the oil executives clung to the belief that cuts to their tax subsidies would be unfair and would stifle job creation and economic growth.

The panel's top Republican Orrin Hatch rose to the defense of the oil executives, calling the hearing a "dog and pony" show.

"If you're going to do this you should treat them fairly along with all the other companies that receive some type of tax expenditures," Hatch said. "I don't want them mistreated just because they're an industry that people hate and they're supposed to be 'big.'"

The oil executives said the bill would not help lower gas prices, a point House Speaker John Boehner echoed in his press conference Thursday.

"We all know that going after oil companies is easy politics, but we also know that if this bill were to pass it wouldn't lower gas prices one penny," Boehner said.

The Senate is set to vote on the measure sometime in the next week, but its chances of passing appear slim to none. The measure will need 60 votes to pass, a tall order in a chamber where there are only 53 Democrats and even some of them don't support the measure.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Senate Dems Deplore Gas Companies Receiving Taxpayer Subsidies

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Standing before a gas station sign bearing a price tag of $4.29 per gallon on Capitol Hill, five Senate Democrats echoed the chorus calling on the five most profitable oil companies to forego the corporate subsidies designated to their companies.

“The sign behind us symbolizes two things.  It symbolizes how much the average American driver is paying,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said. “But it also symbolizes the record profits that the oil companies are making.  Plain and simple.  We all know that we have a huge deficit problem in America and to start off the first place most Americans would start is with the record profits the oil companies are making and saying to them, knowing that that they should not get a taxpayer subsidy to boot.

“I think the American people understand as they pay more at the pump, big oil makes more money,” Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., one of the sponsors of the Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act, said. “The American driver’s pain is big oil’s profit, but what really drives Americans crazy is that their own government is helping to subsidize what are very largely profitable companies.”

“Enough is enough,” Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-MI, said. “Right now, people are paying as much for gas as they’re paying for their healthcare and almost as much as they’re paying to feed their families and put groceries in their home. Now’s the time to take away subsidies that aren’t needed that just add insult to injury because of what taxpayers are having to pay.”

Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-CT, Ben Cardin, D-MD, Menendez, Schumer and Stabenow sent a letter to the five largest oil companies -- BP America, ConocoPhillips, Chevron Corporation, Exxon Mobil, and Shell -- before their testimony on Capitol Hill Thursday, asking them to give up the subsidies and “pay a fair share toward reducing the deficit.”

“Tell the truth.  You don’t need this subsidy, and it ought to go to reducing the deficit,” Schumer said. 

The Democrats also urged Boehner to include the subsidies cut in the deficit reduction plan. Schumer told reporters after the press conference that there is “widespread support” in the Democratic caucus for the bill and a vote on the legislation is scheduled on the Senate floor for next Wednesday.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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