Robert Menendez

US Senator for New Jersey
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In Letter, Reid and Menendez Urge Senate Republicans to Cosponsor Legislation to Bring Down Deficit By Ending Wasteful Handouts to Big Oil Companies

Letter Calls On Republicans To Join Effort To Close Tax Loopholes And End Unneeded Subsidies For Big Oil Companies Raking In Record Profits While Hiking Prices

May 11, 2011

Washington — Nevada Senator Harry Reid and New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez today sent a “Dear Colleague” letter to Senate Republicans asking them to cosponsor legislation that would reduce the deficit by ending wasteful taxpayer handouts to big oil companies making record profits while American families pay $4 at the pump.

The bill would eliminate more than $21 billion in subsidies for the five largest, most profitable oil companies in the world. Some Republicans have publicly expressed a willingness to consider supporting legislation to cut wasteful subsidies for oil companies.

“It is encouraging that some Republicans have publicly expressed a willingness to consider supporting legislation to cut wasteful subsidies for oil companies and we look forward to working with all of you to lower the deficit,” the Senators wrote. “If we are to truly address our national debt, we will all have to tighten our belts and make sacrifices - even the most wealthy and powerful among us… The Big 5 oil companies have made nearly $1 trillion in profits in the last decade - and more than $30 billion of that in the first three months of this year alone. At the same time, many Americans are struggling to make ends meet, find a job, or fill their gas tanks with $4 per gallon gasoline. We simply cannot solve our budget problems by asking working class families to shoulder the burden alone.”

Full text of the letter is below:

Dear Colleague:

We are writing to ask that you consider cosponsoring S. 940, legislation we introduced this week to eliminate more than $21 billion in oil subsidies for the five largest, most profitable oil companies in the world.  It is encouraging that some Republicans have publicly expressed a willingness to consider supporting legislation to cut wasteful subsidies for oil companies and we look forward to working with all of you to lower the deficit.  

If we are to truly address our national debt, we will all have to tighten our belts and make sacrifices - even the most wealthy and powerful among us.  The Big 5 oil companies have made nearly $1 trillion in profits in the last decade - and more than $30 billion of that in the first three months of this year alone.  At the same time, many Americans are struggling to make ends meet, find a job, or fill their gas tanks with $4 per gallon gasoline.  We simply cannot solve our budget problems by asking working class families to shoulder the burden alone.

Some have claimed that cutting $2 billion in annual oil subsidies to the Big 5 oil companies will somehow make oil and gasoline more expensive.  We all know this argument is false.  If we just compare the $2 billion in taxpayer subsidies to the projected $125 billion in profits the Big 5 oil companies are expected to make this year, it becomes very clear that repealing these subsidies would be only a small sacrifice for these companies.  If the Big 5 oil companies could live with just $123 billion in profits, they could pay their fair share in taxes, help lower the deficit, and not raise the price of gasoline.

Thank you for taking the time to consider cosponsoring our bill to eliminate more than $21 billion in oil subsidies for the Big 5 oil companies.  Please do not hesitate to contact either of us or our staff if you have any questions.  We look forward to working with you to lower the deficit in an equitable and effective manner.

Sincerely,

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

Senator Robert Menendez

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