Despite the fact that President Obama has acknowledged that little can be done, at least in the short term, to lasso in the worrisome and continuous rise in prices at the gas pump, the president nevertheless beseeched congressional leaders on Tuesday to seriously consider repealing tax breaks for the oil industry. This is a repetition of an earlier call to end the tax breaks which he made earlier this year as part of his 2012 budget proposal.
Letter Sent to Congress
The request came from the president in the form of a letter sent on Tuesday to the bipartisan leadership of Congress, coming one day after the Republican House Speaker John Boehner said that he was considering “taking a look” at repealing the multibillion-dollar tax subsidies which have been bequeathed upon major oil companies.Rising gas prices are of great concern to the White House because as prices rise, ratings fall, as poll after poll has shown. Therefore the president feels compelled to at least appear to be “doing something” about the cost of oil, even though he has admitted that not much of substance can really be done in the short term to control prices.”High oil and gasoline prices are weighing on the minds and pocketbooks of every American family,” Obama wrote in his letter to Congress. But he also wrote that “there is no silver bullet to address rising gas prices in the short term.”
Tax Subsidies Worth $4 Billion
It is estimated that if Obama’s budget proposal to end oil company tax breaks were implemented there would be about $4 billion in additional revenue generated annually.The tax breaks have managed to repel several attempts at their repeal thanks to heavy pressure from the oil industry. Some of the tax breaks have been in place since as far back as the 1920s.The response which came from the Republicans was cool. Brendan Buck, spokesman for John Boehner, said on Tuesday that Obama’s proposal would “simply raise taxes and increase the price at the pump.” According to Mr. Buck, Boehner’s decision to look into Obama’s proposal is in no way a statement of support for the repeal of the subsidies.Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said:
“The president’s latest call to raise taxes on U.S. energy is as predictable as it is counterproductive.”