The price at the pump is hovering around $4/gallon, while oil and gas companies are reporting billions in first quarter profits. So wasn’t a complete shock when Speaker John Boehner said, earlier this week, that Congress should look at ending the fossil fuel industry’s multi-billion dollar tax breaks.
After all, how does Congress plan to explain to American families facing escalating energy prices that BP – responsible for the worst spill in American history – made $7.1 billion in profits in the first three months of 2011, but still needs taxpayer dollars to stay in business.
Some politicians are trying to say that ending the decade-old tax breaks will only increase the price of fuel. But without their taxpayer-funded safety net, oil and gas companies would have to compete more rigorously for consumers, which is likely to drive down prices.
The fact is that American families can’t afford to keep propping up Exxon, Chevron, Shell and other oil and gas companies. The question is whether Speaker Boehner sees that.
Watch the video of Boehner’s interview.
If Speaker Boehner agrees the time has come to end oil and gas industry welfare, it’s a drastic change in course for the House Republican conference. Representative Paul Ryan’s 2012 budget, submitted less than two weeks ago, keeps intact $40 billion in oil subsidies.
Weeks before, in early March, House Republicans voted unanimously against ending tens of billions in taxpayer subsidies to the five largest oil companies.
See what Montana Congressman Dennis Rehberg has to say.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGWz0sCKYDs&feature=player_embedded&h=328&w=400]
So what’s the answer Mr. Speaker? Are you and your colleagues finally changing your minds about billion dollar tax breaks for an industry making billions in profits?