Menendez’s comment came after the five largest oil companies announced a first quarter profit of more than $30 billion.

Democrats have called for replacing the automatic spending cuts, known as sequestration, with new revenue from closing tax loopholes and ending subsidies for oil companies. 

Menendez has introduced the Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act. He said last year Big 5 oil companies made $118 billion in profits and without taxpayer subsidies the companies would have still made $116 billion.

Some Republicans have argued that ending oil subsidies would only hurt consumers because the companies would raise prices at the pump to make up the difference.