WASHINGTON, May 1, 2011— -- As oil companies announced soaring profits for the first quarter of 2011, political leaders in Washington stepped up their calls for reforming government issued subsidies and tax breaks to oil companies. In an interview for "This Week," Christiane Amanpour pressed House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., about these subsidies.
"Would you back ending subsidies to oil companies?" Amanpour asked.
"Oh yes," said Rep. Ryan. "I think we should clean up all those loopholes. And don't forget, there's a lot of corporate welfare spending that is in our budget put in there by both political parties because of powerful interests. We want to get rid of all that."
Ryan's comments come as President Obama dedicated his weekly address to encouraging Congress to eradicate oil subsidies.
"I do have a problem with the unwarranted taxpayer subsidies we've been handing out to oil and gas companies – to the tune of $4 billion a year," President Obama said in his address released on Saturday. "When oil companies are making huge profits and you're struggling at the pump, and we're scouring the federal budget for spending we can afford to do without, these tax giveaways aren't right. They aren't smart. And we need to end them."
Rep. Ryan insisted that his proposed budget would discourage these loopholes and eliminate them for industries beyond simply oil companies.
"What our budget does is we go after corporate welfare spending," Ryan told Amanpour. "There's corporate welfare spending on energy companies, both green and fossil energy companies. There's corporate welfare on large agri-business. There's corporate welfare on large financial companies. We want to get rid of all that corporate welfare."