Obama: End Oil, Gas Tax Subsidies; Touts Drilling, Biofuels, Wind, Solar, Nuclear Power for Future Energy

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Byline: Susan Crabtree, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

One day after the Super Tuesday primaries, President Obama traveled to the swing state of North Carolina and doubled-down on his call for cutting tax subsidies for oil and gas companies in an ongoing attempt to cast Republicans as out of touch with middle-class workers.

Speaking to workers at a Daimler truck plant in Mount Holly, the president reiterated his defense of his administration's all-of-the-above strategy for developing more domestic energy sources and curbing U.S. dependence on foreign oil through expanded drilling and the development of biofuels, as well as wind, solar and nuclear power.

Mr. Obama also reaffirmed his commitment to eliminating tax subsidies for oil and gas companies and complained that Republicans are standing in the way of the proposal.

Right now, $4 billion of your tax dollars goes straight to the oil industry every year - $4 billion in subsidies that other companies don't get, he said. "Now, keep in mind, these are some of the same companies that are making record profits every time you fill up your gas tank.

The American people have subsidized the oil industry long enough - they don't need the subsidies, he said. It's time to end that taxpayer giveaway to an industry that's never been more profitable and invest in clean energy that's never been more promising.

Though Mr. Obama's proposal is a political long shot with Republicans controlling the House, the president has repeatedly pushed the plan in an attempt to appeal to middle-class voters at a time when gas prices are on the rise.

Last year, a report by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) concluded that eliminating oil and gas subsidies would push prices higher and lead to greater dependence on foreign oil, but noted that the impact would be on a small scale.

Republicans argue that Mr. Obama could do far more to support domestic drilling and they point to the CRS report as evidence that Mr. Obama's policies are driving up the cost of gasoline.

In an effort to keep the political heat on the president, the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing Wednesday on the rising gas prices with Jack Gerard, president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute and Charles Drevna, president of CarbM Trucking. Energy Secretary Steven Chu will face a separate hearing Thursday.

With Republican presidential contenders and the results Tuesday's primaries dominating the news, voters across the country are paying more attention to the campaign this week, and Mr. …