ThinkProgress filed this report from Burlington, Wisconsin.
Yesterday, during a town hall in Waterford, WI, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) said that he supported eliminating the $4 billion in federal subsidies to oil companies, telling a constituent, “Sure….I agree.” But at a town hall this morning in Burlington, Wisconsin, Paul seemed to backpedal on his support when another constituent asked him about getting rid of the federal handout. Ryan admitted that the oil lobbyists secured the handouts, but then talked about ending “corporate welfare” in general, without specifically mentioning the oil dollars:
Q: I’m concerned, not so much about tax cuts on big corporations, but about the subsidies on the oil companies. And the gentleman over there pointed out all of their incredible profit that they have had and they’re still getting subsidies. Can you explain why that is?
RYAN: Because they successfully lobbied it to get it in the law. I didn’t get through all of what this budget does, there is a lot of things we propose to cut from spending in here. One of the first things we propose to do is to cut all of the corporate welfare. There is corporate welfare to agrobusinesses, there is corporate welfare to energy sectors, there is corporate welfare to the financial services sector…But there is a lot of corporate welfare on the spending side as well. And the biggest areas are in the financial services, agriculture and in energy. And we say clear out all that stuff.
After ThinkProgress reported on Ryan’s more direct endorsement of ending the subsidies yesterday, spokesperson Conor Sweeney told The Hill that Ryan’s budget “obviously” ends tax breaks for big oil companies, yet mysteriously also said Ryan has “made clear we are not for raising taxes.” Ryan has voted twice recently to preseve subsidies to oil companies.