ABC's Sunlen Miller reports:
President Obama sent a letter today to House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and other Congressional leaders, urging them to take “immediate action” to eliminate unwarranted tax breaks for the oil and gas industry.
The president was responding to Speaker Boehner’s comments yesterday to ABC’s Jon Karl where he said reviewing oil subsidies is "certainly something we should be looking at." Today, Obama says he was “heartened” by Speaker Boehner openness to this issue and called on Congress to move. Watch Jon Karl’s interview with Boehner.
“I am writing to urge you to take immediate action to eliminate unwarranted tax breaks for the oil and gas industry, and to use those dollars to invest in clean energy to reduce our dependences on foreign oil.”
The president admits that there is “no silver bullet” to address rising gas prices in the short term, but “there are steps we can take to ensure the American people don’t fall victim to skyrocketing gas prices over the long term.”
One of those steps, he says, is eliminating unwarranted tax breaks to the oil and gas industry.
“Our outdated tax laws currently provide the oil and gas industry more than $4 billion per year in these subsidies, even though oil prices are high and the industry is projected to report outsized profits this quarter,” Obama says, “as we work together to reduce our deficits, we simply can’t afford these wasteful subsidies, and that is why I proposed eliminate them in my FY11 and FY12 budgets.”
UPDATE: Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said in response that the President's proposal would raise gas prices.
“The Speaker wants to increase the supply of American energy and reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and he is only interested in reforms that actually lower energy costs and create American jobs. Unfortunately, what the President has suggested so far would simply raise taxes and increase the price at the pump.”