Barack Obama demands Congress end oil, gas subsidies
NASHUA, N.H. (AP) - President Barack Obama, turning his political sights on snowy New Hampshire, demanded that Congress eliminate oil and gas company subsidies that he called an outrageous government "giveaway."
Though politically a long shot, the White House believes the idea resonates at a time of high gasoline prices.
"Let's put every single member of Congress on record: you can stand with oil companies or you can stand up for the American people," Obama said.
The president also said GOP charges that his policies are driving up gas prices won't pass "a political bull-detector" test and pointed to a chart that showed decreasing U.S. dependence on foreign oil.
His remarks came as retail gasoline prices rose Thursday to a national average of $3.74 per gallon.
Obama has repeatedly called for an end to about $4 billion in annual tax breaks and subsidies for oil and gas companies, government support that Obama has said is unwarranted at a time of burgeoning profits and rising domestic production.
"It's outrageous. It's inexcusable. I'm asking Congress: eliminate this oil industry giveaway right away," he told a crowd at Nashua Community College after touring the school's automotive lab.
It was Obama's latest and most direct appeal to Congress to act on the tax breaks, a move that is certain to get stiff Republican opposition and that failed before even when Democrats controlled both Houses of Congress.
But an administration official said the White House expects Congress to soon take up a measure ending some subsidies.
The official requested anonymity to avoid speaking publicly without authorization.
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