Reid: Cut oil tax breaks as soon as possible

But John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerThe two-party system is dying — let’s put it out of its misery One year later, neither party can get past last year's election White House strikes back at Bushes over legacy MORE’s office quickly walked back his comments Tuesday and Republicans criticized Obama’s proposal, included in his fiscal year 2012 budget request, to repeal the tax breaks.

Reid said he would first need to deal with the small-business bill, which has lingered on the Senate floor for weeks.

“I’ve been jerked around on that for more than a month,” Reid said, referring to a series of amendments that have sidelined passage of the legislation.

Jon Summers, a Reid spokesman, said leadership is still working out the details of when a bill to repeal the oil industry tax breaks could come up for a floor vote in the Senate.

Reid also underscored his support for nuclear energy in light of the ongoing nuclear crisis in Japan.

“I hope that we do not give up on nuclear power,” he said, noting that loan guarantees are essential for financing new nuclear plants in the United States.

But Reid suggested there is little chance a major energy bill will move in the Senate in the near future.

The majority leader returned this week from a trip to China with a handful of Senate Democrats and Republicans.

The country is ahead of the United States in developing clean energy technology, Reid said.

The trip was an “unmistakable reminder of just how hard we have to work to make America more competitive with the rest of the world,” Reid told reporters on the call.