Rep. Jeff Flake: ‘Get Rid of All These Corporate Subsidies’

By Cullen Dirner

May 12, 2011 3:21pm

ABC’s Rick Klein (@rickklein) reports: As Democrats press to eliminate tax breaks and subsidies for big oil and gas companies, a growing number of Republicans are voicing agreement – on the condition that they also eliminate subsidies a far broader range of corporate interests, including ethanol, agriculture, and renewable energy.

On ABC’s “Top Line” today, Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., promised an effort to eliminate all subsidies meant to encourage specific investments by corporations.

“I think we need to get rid of all these corporate subsidies,” Flake said. “I don’t think the oil and gas industry should have any benefits that any other corporation doesn’t have in terms of depreciation of assets or whatever else. They should have no less and no more. So, obviously we got to look at a lot of the corporate subsidies. Ethanol — It’s just horrible what we’re doing there—to the environment and to the tax payer. And our [agriculture] subsidies across the board, you name it. … We shouldn’t be doing these corporate subsidies at all.”

Flake applauded House Speaker John Boehner’s promise to push for trillions of dollars in budget cuts, and said he wants to cut spending faster than House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget would.

“The Ryan budget was $6.5 trillion, I believe, over 12 years. We’ve got to have something at least on that order if not more,” Flake said. “I think that we ought to cut — have a downward slope on spending steeper than that. … So we’ve got to cut. It’s got to be trillions, and we’ve got to have reforms attached to this debt limit increase or we shouldn’t raise it.”

Flake, who has supported efforts to enact comprehensive immigration reform in the past, also said that if President Obama had visited Arizona this week instead of Texas, he might have had a much different take on whether border security is where it needs to be.

“If you want immigration reform, you’ve got to have border security first. And the president just won’t acknowledge that,” said Flake, who is running for Senate next year.

“Believe me—me and many others have pushed this issue for a decade now and beaten our head against the wall because nobody trusts the federal government to move ahead while you still have a border situation like you have in the Tucson sector that is just basically a sieve with people coming through all the time— and increasingly a more violent situation at the border.”

Watch the full interview with Rep. Jeff Flake HERE:


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