Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has a message for Speaker John Boehner, following the latter's tough talk before a Wall Street crowd that the Republicans won't vote to raise the debt ceiling unless "trillions" are cut from the budget. Oh, and no tax hikes. Reid's message: if you're serious about cuts, get serious about oil and gas subsidies.
Senate Democratic leadership is asking Boehner to reaffirm support for ending tax breaks to five of the top oil companies as part of his quest to achieve federal savings.
“You can't talk about cuts without first looking at eliminating the giveaways to big oil. It should start there,” Jon Summers, a top spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), said in a statement. “We agree we have to cut spending, but it is ridiculous for Republicans to push a plan to kill Medicare while trying to defend taxpayer handouts to big oil companies that are making record profits. They don't need the money. If Republicans are serious about cutting spending, they'll support our plan to eliminate welfare for Big Oil so we can apply that money toward the deficit.”
Repealing oil company tax breaks is something that Boehner briefly said he would considered supporting before cautioning that he wouldn’t back a policy that could hurt domestic suppliers. Democrats responded by tailoring the proposal so that it hit just the top five companies. Ending their breaks could save the government $21 billion over 10 years.
Boehner isn't likely to agree, since in Republican-land, ending a generous, tax-payer funded subsidy to industry is a tax hike to that industry. Never mind that the industry is seeing record profits from gouging those same taxpayers. So we're the lucky ones who get to pay the oil and gas companies twice, once at the pump, and again with our taxes. Which is just how Boehner and every single House Republican think it should be.
For the umpteenth time, Republicans don't care about the deficit. They just want to figure out how they can funnel as much public money into already well-lined private pockets as possible. Period.