Rep. Tim Scott defends fairness of giving billions in oil subsidies to Exxon: “Fair is a relative word”

After a wave of Republicans came out for ending billions in taxpayer subsidies to big oil companies, first quarter profits showed major oil companies like Shell and ExxonMobil made about $35 billion in profits. Although observers expected that news of record profits might mean the end of some $70 billion in taxpayer subsidies, fiscal conservatives were disappointed last week when the Republicans voted in lockstep to extend oil subsidies.

ThinkProgress spoke with Rep. Tim Scott (R-SC), a freshman Republican who voted to preserve the subsidies, at a Republican Party dinner in South Carolina on Friday. Asked if giving taxpayer money to massively profitable companies like ExxonMobil and Chevron is “fair,” Scott danced around the issue:

“Fair is a relative word,” Scott claimed, before launching into a discussion about more domestic drilling:

FANG: Government’s obviously spending billions every year in oil subsidies and it was just found out this week that in the first quarter, the big oil companies, Exxon, Chevron, whatever, made thirty five billion. And they’re still getting taxpayer money. What do you think of that? Is that fair?

SCOTT: Well, I have not seen the report so I can’t tell you whether it’s fair or not. I think everybody “” fair is a relative word.

Watch it:

Republicans have made cutting funds for NPR, regulators for Wall Street, the EPA, and Pell Grants a priority. While they rail about the national debt, none of these programs come close to the amount of money taxpayers are forced to give to big oil companies. As Rep. Scott said, “fair is a relative word.”

Scott tried to change the topic by talking about drilling. But as the Energy Information Agency has explained, new domestic drilling would not change prices at the pump. If anything, the push for new drilling, along with extending oil subsidies, is another ploy to boost the profits of big oil businesses.

A ThinkProgress repost.

2 Responses to Rep. Tim Scott defends fairness of giving billions in oil subsidies to Exxon: “Fair is a relative word”

  1. sault says:

    The Democrats have to nip this increased drilling thing in the bud. It’s the only weapon the Republicans have to blame the President and other Democrats for high gas prices. I don’t know what works to get the media and popular “wisdom” narrative moving in the right direction, otherwise I’d be in a different job!

    Anyway, here’s my best shot.

    Several reports make it clear that increased oil and gas drilling would decrease the price of a gallon of gas a paltry $0.03/gallon by 2030.

    OPEC could just cut their production to cancel out any of our increased production if they felt that oil prices were going too low.

    Supply & Demand, along with some speculation and the OPEC cartel, strongly determine oil and motor fuel prices.

    The oil companies are sitting on millions of acres in leases that they are currently not drilling on or exploring.

    As long as we consume 1/4 of the world’s oil production while having only 5% of the reserves, our economy will continually be at the mercy of OPEC and the ongoing instability in the Middle East.

    There may be relatively modest oil discoveries still to come in North America, but it is PHYSICALLY IMPOSSIBLE to increase our production to the rate it was in 1970. New technology helps to increase the production life of mature fields, but it cannot increase production indefinitely. Any reports of “Saudi Arabias” worth of oil lying untapped beneath our feet are disingenuous exaggerations. Blaming environmentalists for the failure to tap these non-existent oil reserves is a distraction from the real energy issues at hand.

    The truth remains that the oil industry tapped the biggest and best oil fields decades ago and the only deposits left are the scraps that were too hard to get at or too small to economically drill in the past. U.S. oil production has actually INCREASED during President Obama’s term, but energy independence through increased drilling is a red herring. We need to increase our oil use efficiency in an effort to eventually kick our oil habit completely.

  2. Jim Groom says:

    Cowards, each and everyone of them. The voice of people has been heard, and we want something done about subsidies for oil companies. The GOPer’s voted last month to keep the subsidies and they got their asses handed to them in their townhalls. They did the usual, they said whatever they had too to quite the crowds. Cowards!