Battling for reelection in a new left-leaning district, Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) identified oil subsidies as one area where lawmakers can trip government spending, during a town hall in Elk Grove Wednesday.
“Get rid of subsidies for the big oil companies if you want. Do it,” Walsh declared to loud applause, calling the move “important”:
WALSH: You can do anything you want to. Bring our boys and girls home from Afghanistan, that’s what I want to do. Do it. Get rid of the federal Department of Education. That’s what I want to do. Do it. [Applause] Get rid of subsidies for the big oil companies if you want. Do it. [Applause] You can go on down the line and nail all of these things — and they’re important — but they’re billions. When it comes to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, we’re talking about trillions.
Of course, Walsh doesn’t have to just pontificate on the issue. He is one of 535 people in the country whose job it is to decide whether taxpayers continue to give oil companies $4 billion in subsidies every year. And when he had the opportunity to vote on the matter last year, he took the opposite position, voting in sync with House Republican colleagues to protect oil company subsidies.
Walsh didn’t mention this vote when skewering the subsidies in front of constituents, however, leaving the impression that he supported ending handouts to oil companies.