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Rep. Bishop, Pawlenty invoke inaccurate arguments against cutting oil subsidies

As the issue of oil subsidies sows discord within the Republican Party — with most GOP members sticking to the party line by defending subsidies, a growing few denouncing them as “corporate welfare” and the likes of Majority Leader John Boehner in the middle, first calling out subsidies and then dialing back his comments — at least one Republican in Congress is taking a novel approach to the subject. Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) has simply denied their existence.

Think Progress has the video:

And the transcript (emphasis added by Think Progress):

BISHOP: There’s no subsidies for oil companies, oil companies get the same tax breaks that every other business gets. There are no special subsidies or tax breaks for oil companies, period.

CONSTITUENT: Why is that reported in the newspapers and on the–

BISHOP: They liked to spin it that way. Any change in oil companies was to give them the same tax structure as as every other manufacturing business gets. There is nothing that is that special or new or unique for these oil companies. And there are a lot of people who want to throw that spin out there. It’s spin, it’s crap.

Bishop’s claim that all reports of special tax breaks for the oil industry are simply media-generated “crap” runs counter to the fact that the industry pulls in an estimated $4 billion in annual subsidies, which includes, as Think Progress’s Lee Fang reports, oil-specific kickbacks such as “the ‘Intangible Drilling Costs’ tax break ($7.8 billion over ten years); a deduction for ‘tertiary,’ or enhanced oil recovery methods ($67 million over ten years); and the percentage depletion allowance for owners of oil wells ($10 billion over ten years).”

Bishop’s comments come on the heels of presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty’s blasting of President Obama’s proposal to drop the subsidies. Pawlenty inaccurately implied that cutting the tax breaks would result in further gas price increases for consumers. In fact, a 2007 report (PDF) from Congress’s Joint Economic Committee concluded that ditching oil subsidies would have little to no effect on consumer prices.

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