Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) denies existence of billions in special oil subsidies

We have a new kind of denier in DC — an oil subsidy denier. Think Progress has the amazing story and video.Earlier this year, the GOP voted in lockstep to extend billions in tax breaks to oil companies. The subsidies include special tax breaks only available to oil and gas companies. For instance, there is the “Intangible Drilling Costs” tax break ($7.8 billion over ten years); a deduction for “tertiary,” or enhanced oil recovery methods ($67 million over ten years); and the percentage depletion allowance for owners of oil wells ($10 billion over ten years).

Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT), a staunch ally of polluters and top recipient of oil industry campaign contributions, was asked last week at the Toole County Republican convention if he supports such tax breaks to big oil. An incredulous Bishop retorted that “there are no special subsidies or tax breaks for oil companies, period.” Rather, Bishop claimed that there is a media conspiracy to fool the public into believing in oil subsidies:

BISHOP: There’s no subsidies for oil companies, oil companies get the same tax breaks that every other business gets. There are no special subsidies or tax breaks for oil companies, period.

CONSTITUENT: Why is that reported in the newspapers and on the-

BISHOP: They liked to spin it that way. Any change in oil companies was to give them the same tax structure as as every other manufacturing business gets. There is nothing that is that special or new or unique for these oil companies. And there are a lot of people who want to throw that spin out there. It’s spin, it’s crap.

It is true that oil companies, like every major corporation, will reap a windfall from Republican-proposed reductions in the corporate tax rate. But Bishop and his party are also extending billions in subsidies only available to companies in the oil industry.


A few Republicans, like Rep. James Lankford (R-OK), are stepping up to defend targeted subsidies to big oil. But Bishop’s defense is perhaps the most novel. In the past, Bishop used climate change denial as a strategy to defend oil company pollution. Now, he’s apparently using subsidies-denial to defend taxpayer giveaways to the wildly profitable oil industry.

However, more and more Republican lawmakers are regretting, or in some cases, forgetting their vote. Rep. Dan Webster (R-FL) told us that he now thinks oil subsidies are “corporate welfare.” At a town hall last week, Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT) said that oil subsidies should be “on the table” for elimination. And Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) now wants to vote to repeal them. Even GOP leadership, including Reps. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and John Boehner (R-OH), have recently back pedaled support for tax breaks to the oil industry.

— A Think Progress repost