Rep. Jeff Duncan denies he voted for Big Oil subsidies, then gets flustered trying to justify the money

Also implies BP is an American company

Although Republicans hinted for months that they may reverse course and end billions in subsidies to big oil companies, they voted in lockstep last week to protect them.

Before the Silver Elephant Dinner last week in Columbia, SC, ThinkProgress spoke to freshman Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) about the vote.  Here’s the story and video.

At first, Duncan claimed that he “did not” vote to preserve billions in subsidies to oil companies. Second later, he backtracked and told us that he opposed an amendment, offered by Democrats, which would have killed the subsidies. Finally, after some prodding, Duncan told us he stands by companies like Exxon and BP, but had “no comment” on why they deserve special subsidies:

FANG: What do you think about oil subsidies? I know Democrats have brought this up this week and there was a vote on Thursday or maybe Wednesday on ending billions of dollars in tax subsidies to very profitable oil companies like Exxon, Shell, Chevron, etc. Do you think it’s necessary that the government borrows money to give to already very profitable oil companies?

DUNCAN: Well look at all the money we borrow to give to countries that hate us in foreign aid. I think we gotta look at every bit of expenditure, every tax line, and really work on reining in government spending more.

FANG: Did you vote to extend those subsidies?

DUNCAN: I did not.

FANG: Okay.

DUNCAN: Or I didn’t vote for the Democrat amendment that you were talking about. I support American energy production, and it will be produced by companies, Exxon, BP, Shell, and continue to support American energy.

FANG: Even if they made $35 billion in the last quarter, you think that it’s still necessary that the taxpayer subsidize them?

DUNCAN: I’m not going to comment on that.

Watch it:

Taxpayers will be forced to hand over some $70 billion in oil subsidies over the next ten years, unless Congress repeals them. This money, however, is not making gas prices cheaper. Rather, the subsidies are padding the profits of executives at Shell, BP, ExxonMobil, Chevron, and other major oil companies, which collectively made $35 billion in profits in just the first quarter of 2011.

Many Republican lawmakers have been unable to square their loyal dedication to giving taxpayer money to big oil companies with their larger message of spending cuts. Some lawmakers, like Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT), have tried to deny the existence of such subsidies. Others have tried to tell town hall meetings that they will vote to end oil subsidies, before traveling back to DC and voting to preserve them.

Reposted from Think Progress

5 Responses to Rep. Jeff Duncan denies he voted for Big Oil subsidies, then gets flustered trying to justify the money

  1. Emily Foster says:

    Amoco and Sohio were acquired by BP. BP has a very large fotprint that goes back many years. In fact, Socony Mobil and Exxon were sisters to Amoco and Sohio many years ago. The break up of standard.

  2. Mike Roddy says:

    The memo has gone out from RNC: Go ahead and lie like hell to your constituents. They are suckers, and don’t know the difference.

  3. adelady says:

    “They are suckers, and don’t know the difference.” ?

    I’m inclined to think that this applies to these radical partybots themselves. They don’t think about legislation for themselves. They do as they’re told for votes on any and all issues – any that are missed just fall into the must-oppose-libruls-at-any-cost hole.

    I see no evidence that these people take their constituents or national, let alone international, concerns into account at all. Their only purpose is to be seen as conforming to the ideology. Any chance of independent thinking about their roles, ethics or individual responsibilities is negated by that overriding demand.

  4. J4zonian says:

    I think despite his being a Republican we have to give Duncan the benefit of the doubt on the verbal stumble. It’s hard to keep track of “ending” vs. “extending” subsidies, the bill vs the amendments, etc. especially when speaking in public. The fact that he said this proves nothing. Let’s focus on what important–1. that by offering, and pretending to support, an amendment they know has not one chance in a gazillion of passing, Democrats get to look good to both those who want the subsidies to end (but dont pay enough attention to know how congress really works) AND the oil execs who pay lots of money for them to continue (paid directly and indirectly, to both parties.) 2. that the Republicans are neither going to abandon the uberwealthy contributors who get them elected, nor are they ever going to tell the truth about any of this, and 3. the Democrats are never going to tell the truth about any of it either. It’s time to support a 3rd party, either as a way to get 3rd party people elected or force the Democrats to be Democrats again, instead of the PR wing of the bicameral militaristic corporate party, and finally get some representatives who represent, and will do something real about peak oil and climate change.

  5. Jefrey Davis says:

    “When record profits aren’t enough, there’s always [insert GOP politician here]”

    Generic campaign slogan for the Fall.

    It would be wonderfully effective. Except I’m afraid that most Democrat politicians wouldn’t use it because it would offend the oil companies.