Will Rehberg Continue to Support Billions in Government Handouts to Big Oil While Montana Families Suffer at the Pump?
MONTANA - With gas prices rising and oil companies expected to report massive first quarter profits this week, Congressman Dennis Rehberg is finding himself in a tough spot defending his votes to maintain billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies to oil companies [House Vote #153, 3/1/11]. Feeling the heat, even Speaker Boehner suggested Big Oil companies didn’t need these government handouts, stating oil companies are "gonna pay their fair share in taxes and they should," Boehner told ABC News Monday night, adding that, “frankly, they've got some part of this to blame." Rehberg has not been as clear. When asked directly by a constituent in Columbus if he would consider ending subsidies for oil companies, Rehberg said only that “everything is on the table,” including “subsidies for the oil companies.” Does this mean he’s willing to reconsider his recent support of over $40 billion in handouts to Big Oil?
Although the House leadership admits that the richest oil companies in the nation don’t need billions in government subsidies, they have voted to continue these obscene handouts as recently as earlier this year.
Theresa Keaveny, Executive Director of Montana Conservation Voters, released the following statement questioning whose side Congressman Rehberg is on, Big Oil or Montana families:
“In the past three months alone, Congressman Rehberg has taken thousands in campaign cash from Big Oil. He just attended a fundraiser with BP Executives last week. And in return, he has kept doling out taxpayer dollars to the most profitable companies in the U.S. while Montana families suffer under sky high prices at the pump. With oil companies poised to announce record profits during these tough economic times it couldn’t be clearer that these companies are the least deserving of taxpayer money and government handouts. It’s past time for Congressman Rehberg to end his support for this obscene corporate welfare and start standing up for the people of Montana.”
Rep. Rehberg received $5,000 from Exxon in the first quarter of 2011. A recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found that 74 percent of voters support eliminating tax breaks to oil companies. [NBC/WSJ Poll, February 2011]