Joining an effort to end giveaways, U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., announced his support of the Big Oil Welfare Repeal Act, which would revoke billions in tax subsidies given to oil companies.

House Democrats planned a Thursday vote to force their Republican counterparts to take a stand on tax breaks given to companies such as Exxon, BP, and Chevron. At a time when gas prices are climbing to $385 a month, Yarmuth says the federal government needs to close loopholes given to those corporations.

“With gas prices in Louisville hitting four dollars per gallon, ExxonMobil just reported earnings of more than $10 billion for the first quarter of this year—almost 70 percent higher than last year. Yet, we are still giving them taxpayer-financed subsidies,” Yarmuth said in a statement. “If we are serious about deficit reduction and equity in this country, this legislation is a critical step forward to help build an economy that works for everybody, and not just big oil.”

Yarmuth defended his position on the House floor yesterday.

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The bill would revoke nearly $13 billion in subsidies by ending a section of the tax code for the nation’s five largest oil companies, which permits a six percent tax deduction for income derived from domestic oil extraction.

There’s been a public outcry over the rising prices at the pump while oil companies report billions in profits. In addition to ExxonMobil, BP collected almost $5.5 billion, and Conoco, Shell, and Chevron reported a combined $16 billion in profits.

According to the Hill, House Speaker John Boenher, R-Oh., initially supported the repeal and told ABC News oil companies “ought to be paying their fair share”, but later backpedaled.

However, Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wi., whose budget plan makes serious cuts to domestic spending, indicated he supported eliminating the breaks.


House Democrats failed to force a vote on the legislation bya 171 to 241 vote, largely along party lines.

Party leaders had urged Democratic members of the House to vote against a previous bill in order to introduce an amendment that would have paved the way for the repeal to be considered.