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Rubio will vote against 'stunt' proposal to end tax breaks for oil companies

Sen. Marco Rubio called a Democratic plan to wipe out about $2 billion a year in tax breaks for the oil industry a "stunt" that would not affect gas prices, adding his voice to Republican opposition on the issue.

"It's a tax increase. I don't vote for tax increases," Rubio told the Buzz. "Those are the same subsidies that are available to everybody and every company. I'm interested in lowering gas prices. I'm not interested in wasting time talking about things that aren't going to help lower people's gas prices."

The bill is expected to fail this evening but Senate Majority Harry Reid said he wants to insert the issue into negotiations over raising the debt limit. Reid said the subsidy cuts could help lower the deficit. "Instead of defending oil companies," he said at a news conference this afternoon, "Republicans should be defending the American taxpayer."

The industry posts profits year after year, so it it fair to give them a tax break?

"They are using the same tax exemptions that apply to every business," Rubio said. "If (Democrats) have a problem with the tax code, then simplify the tax code. This just part of the whole dog and pony show they like to put on here. What people back home want to know is not who are we going to punish, who are we going to make an example of. What they want to know is what are we going to do up here to make gas prices be more affordable."

Democrats quickly pointed out that Rubio received more than $196,000 in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry.

Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson said in a statement: "It simply doesn't make sense that we would continue to rely on oil and gas tax breaks that were originally written about a century ago. They have little, if anything, to do with modern, job-creating energy policy and do nothing to keep gas prices down. It's time for them to go."

Posted by Alex Leary at 2:51:21 pm on May 17, 2011