TRANSCRIPT: ABC News' Jonathan Karl Interviews Speaker of the House John Boehner
April 25, 2011 -- JONATHAN KARL: Mr. Speaker, I'm sure you're gettin' an earful from your constituents about gas prices. When we looked at it, gas prices have more than doubled since President Obama was sworn in. Does the President bear some responsibility for rising prices?
SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER: Well, I think the fact that he won't allow exploration-- in the Gulf, doesn't allow exploration in the inter-mountain west, won't allow us to drill in Alaska-- this is not helping—the situation. And then when you look at what the EPA is doing in terms of-- the number of rules and regulations comin' down-- the pike, those were his responsibility.
He's not doing anything to make the situation better. And the fact is is that we need all of the above. We need green energy, but we also need a transition to green energy. That means more oil and gas exploration. And it oughta happen sooner rather than later.
JONATHAN KARL: Well, what's the bottom line. When somebody goes to the pump and they're spending four bucks a gallon on gas, I mean do-- do they-- does part of the blame there lie with the President?
SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER: They're gonna blame somebody. All right? And-- the fact is he's done nothin' to help the situation.
JONATHAN KARL: Okay. Now this week we're gonna see the oil companies report their profits. And we've already seen the analysts say it's gonna be way up. Exxon Mobil last quarter, $9 billion in profits in a single quarter. Is there something obscene about gas company-- oil and gas company profits being that high when Americans are struggling just to fill up the tank?
SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER: Listen, everybody-- everybody wants to-- to go after the oil companies. And, frankly-- they've got some part of this to blame. All right? But the fact is is there's a limited supply of oil around the world. There's-- unrest in the Middle East driving up the price. They happen to hold the assets. They're the lucky ones at this point. But-- but they oughta do everything they can-- to help us-- produce oil and gas at a lower price.
JONATHAN KARL: But what are Americans supposed to think, though? The-- you know, you go in and you're-- you're struggling again just to fill up the tank and these companies are gonna have-- record or near record profits. Billions and billions of dollars--
SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER: Right.
JONATHAN KARL: --in-- in a single quarter?
SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER: Right. Listen, they're gonna pay their fair share in taxes and they should.
JONATHAN KARL: Okay. Pay their fair share in taxes. That-- I mean they're also gettin' a lot of tax subsidies. You know, by-- by some estimates $5 billion-- a year, maybe considerably more.
SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER: Listen--
JONATHAN KARL: Why-- why-- why do they get that?
SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER: I don't know that-- that they get this so called extra benefits. Some would like to describe them as that. But if--
JONATHAN KARL: Well--
SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER: --if you have-- listen, if you've got-- investments and you're depleting those-- in-- in most businesses-- you get depreciation. In the oil and gas business, they get an oil depletion allowance-- which takes the place of what would be depreciation in any other business.