During last week’s recess, Rep. Frank Guinta (R-NH) felt the heat once again at a town hall back in New Hampshire, and this time had an odd recommendation. When a constituent asked a question about ending Big Oil subsidies – which received a round of applause from the audience – Guinta pointed his finger at the recent failed Senate vote to roll back some subsidies for the richest oil companies. He said that if oil companies lost their subsidies, they shouldn’t have to pay for leases. His suggestion prompted shouts of “ridiculous” and “that’s a giveaway to Big Oil” from angry Granite Staters:
Guinta: Here’s what I would suggest. You’re going to eliminate that, also eliminate the lease payments they have to make. Offset it. And be fair.
Audience: Fair? [cross talk] …
Guinta: So the specific issue is, if you’re going to get rid of that tax benefit to those five companies, let’s also eliminate lease payments, make it fair.
Constituent: That’s ridiculous. That’s a giveaway to Big Oil.
Guinta failed to mention the votes he’s taken against ending Big Oil handouts. Less than two weeks ago, he voted against ending a tax credit for oil companies. And earlier in the year, he voted against recovering $53 billion in foregone royalty payments from oil companies, and against ending $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies to Big Oil. In the last campaign cycle, Guinta received $14,000 from the oil and gas industry.
It’s not the first time Guinta faced a fiery crowd over Big Oil subsidies. Back home during the April recess, Guinta was forced to defend his votes to an often contentious crowd:
Republican Representative Frank Guinta spent much of the evening defending the tough decisions Congress has proposed to get the nation’s debt under control. He received occasional boos and shouts from audience members upset over changes to Medicare, subsidies to oil companies, and extended tax cuts for wealthy Americans.