Obama to Congress: 'Stand with the American people' on oil company tax breaks

“Today, members of Congress have a simple choice to make,” Obama said. “They can stand with big oil companies, or they can stand with the American people.”

The Senate is slated to vote later Thursday morning on Democratic-backed legislation to eliminate over the next decade $24 billion in tax deductions granted to major integrated oil companies. The bill would also extend several green-energy and energy-efficiency tax breaks.

The legislation, authored by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), is expected to fail, amid opposition from Republicans and oil-state Democrats. But Obama and Senate Democrats have rallied around the bill amid growing Republican attacks over soaring gas prices, which reached a national average of $3.92 per gallon Thursday.

In his speech Thursday, Obama argued that oil companies no longer need the tax breaks they’ve enjoyed for decades, pointing to the industry’s massive profits. He also appealed to consumers who are angry about high pump prices, arguing that oil companies are profiting as the public is struggling.

“Right now, the biggest oil companies are raking in record profits — profits that go up every time folks pull into a gas station,” Obama said. “But on top of these record profits, oil companies are also getting billions a year in taxpayer subsidies — a subsidy they’ve enjoyed year after year for the last century.”

For more on the president’s remarks, click here.