Pelosi Writes Boehner, Demands Vote to End Oil & Gas Subsidies

By John R Parkinson

Apr 26, 2011 7:43pm

ABC News’ John R. Parkinson reports:

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is joining the president’s call for Congress to act to eliminate taxpayer subsidies for big oil and gas companies, demanding that Republicans schedule a floor vote on the issue quickly once Congress returns from recess May 2.

Reacting to Boehner’s comments in an exclusive interview with ABC News Monday that big oil companies “ought to be paying their fair share" and that “they've got some part of this to blame,” Pelosi wrote in a letter obtained by ABC News to House Speaker John Boehner, that “House Democrats have long advocated eliminating outdated and costly taxpayer subsidies that provide billions of dollars to highly profitable oil companies.”

“Your comments yesterday acknowledged that oil companies ought to be paying their fair share,” Pelosi, D-Calif., wrote. “It makes little sense for American consumers — who are now paying over $4 a gallon for gasoline in most parts of the United States — to have billions of their taxpayer dollars subsidizing oil companies that are making record profits.” 

Pelosi called on Boehner to “schedule a vote on ending these tax breaks on the House floor” upon Congress’s return from recess next week and noted that she was looking "forward to our working together to achieve this necessary change.” 

Earlier Tuesday, the president wrote the top leadership in both houses of Congress to respond to Boehner’s comments where the Speaker said reviewing which companies receive oil subsidies is "certainly something we should be looking at."

“I was heartened that Speaker Boehner yesterday expressed openness to eliminating these tax subsidies for the oil and gas industry,” President Obama wrote. “Our political system has for too long avoided and ignored this important step, and I hope we can come together in a bipartisan manner to get it done.”

The House is already expected to take up three different energy-related bills aimed at freeing up domestic energy production, but a spokesman from the Office of the Speaker told ABC News that “what the President has suggested so far would simply raise taxes and increase the price at the pump.”

“The Speaker wants to increase the supply of American energy and reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and he is only interested in reforms that actually lower energy costs and create American jobs,” Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said.

The full text of the Pelosi letter to Boehner is below: 

April 26, 2011 

The Honorable John Boehner
Speaker of the House
H-232 US Capitol
Washington, DC 20515 

Dear Mr. Speaker:  

House Democrats have long advocated eliminating outdated and costly taxpayer subsidies that provide billions of dollars to highly profitable oil companies.  As you know, the President today called upon Congressional leaders “to take immediate action to eliminate unwarranted tax breaks for the oil and gas industry.” 

As you also know, we have had several votes on this subject in the House, and have been disappointed that these proposals have not been supported by the Republican leadership.  Your comments yesterday acknowledged that oil companies ought to be paying their fair share.  It makes little sense for American consumers — who are now paying over $4 a gallon for gasoline in most parts of the United States — to have billions of their taxpayer dollars subsidizing oil companies that are making record profits. 

For these reasons, I am writing to request that you schedule a vote on ending these tax breaks on the House floor upon our return to Washington next week.  I look forward to our working together to achieve this necessary change. 

Thank you for your consideration of this request.

best regards, 
                                                               
NANCY PELOSI

House Democratic Leader 

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