Reid pits oil tax credits against Medicare

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) pitted tax credits for oil companies against the longevity of Medicare on Thursday and suggested the upper chamber ought to revisit legislation defeated last month that would have ended $21 billion worth of subsides for large oil companies.

“If we are serious about reducing spending, ending tens of billions in taxpayer giveaways to big oil companies shouldn’t be one of the difficult decisions,” said Reid. “And when the other side says the alternative is to end Medicare, slash Medicaid and put millions of seniors at risk, the choice is that much clearer.”

Reid also hailed comments made by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) on Wednesday in which he suggested that some wasteful tax credits ought to be eliminated in order to obtain debt reduction.

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"Getting rid of unwarranted tax breaks is a good idea," said Alexander, a member of the GOP's leadership.

“I am happy to see Republicans opening up to what Democrats have being saying all along: Cutting wasteful subsidies to big oil should be on the table if we are going to reduce the deficit,” Reid said.

“I am glad one of my Republicans colleagues is finally getting the message,” Reid concluded.

The legislation to strip the oil tax credits was defeated in the Senate last month 52-48.

That legislation would have required oil companies to pay taxes for drilling on federal land and remove tax deductions for companies that drill in foreign countries.