Earlier this year, nearly the entire GOP caucus voted to extend over $40 billion in taxpayer subsidies to oil companies. But as the National Journal reports, GOP leaders are being pushed to the wall politically as more and more Republicans recant their earlier votes. Even Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) appeared to blink this week when he told ABC News that he was open to ending some special tax giveaways to major oil companies.
Yesterday at town hall in Columbus, Montana, Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT) was asked by a constituent if he would consider ending the subsidies to oil companies. As evidenced in a video posted on YouTube, Rehberg responded that “everything is on the table,” including “subsidies for the oil companies”:
CONSTITUENT: To follow-up on the energy question, given our budget issues now, can you tell me what your plan is for the interaction of paying, supplementing, or aiding, getting federal assistance to oil companies who are now making a fortune?
REHBERG: You know during this time of fiscal — what I believe to be a crisis — one of the things we need to do is look at each of the agencies and the tax code and make a determination. Where are the subsidies, where are the things that are in the tax code that give an advantage to, advantage is not necessarily the right word, but giving a financial payment to a company like a major oil company. So, everything is on the table as far as I’m concerned; that would be, the subsidies for the oil companies would be one of them.
A number of Republicans have recently broken with the oil industry. Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA), who originally voted for the subsidies, told ThinkProgress that he believes such funds are tantamount to unfair “market manipulation.” Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC), another member who voted for the subsidies, backtracked last week and said that they are now “on the table” for elimination in his view.
Even a group of Tea Party activists told ThinkProgress that big oil subsidies should end.
A longtime friend of oil lobbyists, Rehberg voted twice just this year to extend subsidies to oil companies. If given another chance, will Rehberg vote to stop subsidizing ultra-profitable oil companies? (HT: snakebitmt)