By Andrew Restuccia - 05/11/11 06:13 PM EDT
Democrats held a press conference Wednesday at a gas station on Capitol Hill. They urged the executives of the largest oil companies to support repealing the tax breaks.
“You are doing just fine on your own, you don’t need the taxpayer giving you an extra handout to help,” Schumer said.
The heads of the five largest oil companies are slated to testify Thursday before the Senate Finance Committee on industry tax breaks.
Schumer called on Republicans to support the effort, arguing it is a first step toward reducing the deficit.
“We are also saying to Speaker Boehner, this is the place to start. If you’re serious about real deficit reduction, there is no reason not to include these subsidies as a way to cut the deficit because they are outlandish and serve no purpose whatsoever,” he said.
But Republicans have blasted the measure, noting it will do nothing to lower gas prices, which averaged $3.96 per gallon Wednesday in the United States.
Despite holding their press conference at a gas station, Democrats acknowledged that their proposal to eliminate industry tax breaks will do nothing to lower gas prices.
At the same time, though, the lawmakers stressed that the bill will not raise prices, as Republicans and the oil industry have alleged.
"It certainly is not going to increase prices," Menendez said. "That’s the American Petroleum Institute, which is an industry-driven effort, and Republicans who are protecting big oil trying to scare the public."