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Warren says oil industry should not receive coronavirus 'bailout'

Warren says oil industry should not receive coronavirus 'bailout'
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Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWhat a Biden administration should look like Overnight Defense: Dems want hearing on DOD role on coronavirus vaccine | US and India sign data-sharing pact | American citizen kidnapped in Niger Conservative operatives Wohl, Burkman charged in Ohio over false robocalls MORE (D-Mass.) is pressuring the Treasury Department to nix consideration of any aid to the oil and gas industry as lawmakers set aside funds to battle economic impacts of the coronavirus.

“These companies have contributed to the deterioration of the environment through their emissions, and their lobbying and political expenditure efforts have undermined efforts to identify and address the risks of the climate crisis,” Warren wrote to Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinMcConnell and Schumer's relationship shredded after court brawl On The Money: Trump says stimulus deal will happen after election | Holiday spending estimates lowest in four years | Domestic workers saw jobs, hours plummet due to COVID Trump says stimulus deal will happen after election MORE

“The fossil fuel industry already receives billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies annually. These companies do not deserve special access to taxpayer-financed bailout funds at a time when millions of Americans are struggling to make ends meet,” she added.

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Warren’s letter comes as the Federal Reserve Board expanded the Main Street Lending Program to open the funding to smaller oil companies shortly after receiving requests for such actions from Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzHillicon Valley: Big Tech hearing the most partisan yet | Rubio warns about foreign election interference | Trump campaign site briefly hacked Tech CEOs clash with lawmakers in contentious hearing Trump announces intention to nominate two individuals to serve as FEC members MORE (R-Texas) and an industry group for small and mid-sized oil producers. 

The Treasury Department did not immediately return a request for comment.

Warren is just the latest in a string of Democrats who have pressured the department to keep coronavirus stimulus funds from oil companies.

“Giving that money to the fossil fuel industry will do nothing to stop the spread of the deadly virus or provide relief to those in need. It will only artificially inflate the fossil fuel industry’s balance sheets,” lawmakers wrote in an April letter spearheaded by Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyTech CEOs clash with lawmakers in contentious hearing OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump strips protections for Tongass forest, opening it to logging | Interior 'propaganda' video and tweets may violate ethics laws, experts say | Democrats see Green New Deal yielding gains despite GOP attacks Democrats see Green New Deal yielding gains despite GOP attacks MORE (D-Mass.) and Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-Calif.) and signed by more than 40 others. 

But the department has been under tremendous pressure from the president and Republicans to do more to save the industry after an uptick in production before global stay-at-home orders sent prices plummeting.

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What that assistance might be remains unclear.

“Well we're not gonna let our oil companies go and get in trouble. It's not their fault that they got hit by 50 percent less volume in one day,” President TrumpDonald John TrumpHillary Clinton responds to Chrissy Teigen tweet: 'I love you back' Police called after Florida moms refuse to wear face masks at school board meeting about mask policy Supreme Court rejects Trump effort to shorten North Carolina mail-ballot deadline MORE said last week speaking alongside Mnuchin.

"I think the oil industry is one of the top on the list,” he said, prompting the Treasury secretary for more details.

The administration has tried to buy oil to fill the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, but it has been blocked by Democrats, who have rebuffed efforts to include the $3 billion in funding needed to do so. 

“We're looking at a lot of different strategies, Mnuchin said last week. “I've said before, this is not going to be a bailout of shareholders, but this is going to be supporting the national security issue. ... We're also exploring potentially having the ability to store another several hundred million barrels.”