Washington, D.C.–Nevada Senator Harry Reid made the following remarks today on repealing wasteful subsidies for big oil companies. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Saving money requires a lot of difficult choices. Which programs do we cut in tough times? Which priorities are more important than others? As we’ve seen here in the Senate and across the country over the last few months, a lot of people have a lot of different answers to those questions.
“Then there are the choices that aren’t so tough at all. There’s clear waste in the federal budget and the tax code. And then there’s Big Oil. We’re giving billions and billions of dollars every year – $4 billion to be exact – every cent of it taxpayer money – to oil companies that already are more than successful.
“These oil companies made $36 billion in profits during the first quarter of this year alone. Exxon made 70 percent more this year than last year.
“The industry’s $36 billion in quarterly profits means it’s making $12 billion a month. That’s $4 billion a week. And yet the U.S. government is giving these companies $4 billion a year in corporate welfare?
“Why are taxpayers on the hook for oil companies that are doing just fine on their own?
“If we’re serious about reducing the deficit, this is an easy place to start. It’s a no-brainer. Let’s use the savings from these taxpayer giveaways to drive down the deficit, not drive up oil company profits.
“Let’s make one thing clear: wasteful subsidies have nothing to do with gas prices. These oil handouts have existed for decades. Prices have continued to rise. Oil executives’ paychecks have gone up too. The $4 billion a gallon Americans are paying at the pump are not related to these subsidies – but those profits are proof enough that they don’t need them.
“Even Big Oil CEOs like the head of Shell, and Republicans in Congress including the Speaker of the House, have admitted that these subsidies aren’t necessary.
“Some of our conservative colleagues have a hard time stomaching giving a hand to those who need it the most. We should all agree – in the interest of fairness, common sense, and saving taxpayer money – that we can cut out corporate welfare to those Big Oil firms who need it the least.”