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Listen to speech here

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) spoke on the Senate floor to urge her colleagues to support the Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act, which would force the oil industry to give up unnecessary taxpayer-funded subsidies to help reduce the deficit. Senator Murray also discussed the serious impact that high gas prices have on Washington state’s small businesses and middle class families, and the need to end the speculation that is driving up the costs for consumers.

Key excerpts:

“…I feel very strongly that before we make budget cuts that slash support for middle class families, we should look at ways to responsibly reduce the deficit that don’t hurt the families that are struggling the most.”

“…the big oil companies aren’t just making money hand over fist from families paying sky-high prices at the pump, they also have the gall to come back to those same taxpayers and demand billions more in subsidies that add directly to their profits! It just doesn’t make any sense. And it needs to end.”

“I think my colleagues here in the Senate who oppose this legislation need to explain to the American people why they think the big oil companies need even bigger profits, and why they think American taxpayers should continue to pad their coffers with unwarranted subsidies at the very time we are fighting to rein in the deficit.”

“…in addition to ending the wasteful subsidies to the big oil companies, we also need to act to end the speculation that’s a big part of what’s pushing prices at the pump higher and higher.”

“So I urge my colleagues to put taxpayers and the middle class ahead of big oil,to end the wasteful giveaways to oil companies, and to use that money to pay down the deficit in a responsible way.”

The full text of the speech follows:

“Madam President, I come to the floor today to support the Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act and to talk about the devastating effect that high prices at the pump are having on families in my home state of Washington.

“Madam President, middle class families and small business owners are still struggling.

“Our economy is starting to turn around, but so many families are still fighting to stay in their homes, so many small businesses owners are still struggling to keep their doors open, so many workers  are still desperately trying to get back on the job.

“And Madam President, this is all happening while we are debating here in Congress about the best ways to cut spending responsibly and rein in the deficit.

“This is a serious issue—and we need to get this done—but I feel very strongly that before we make budget cuts that slash support for middle class families, we should look at ways to responsibly reduce the deficit that don’t hurt the families that are struggling the most.

“And to me, one of the most common-sense actions we can take is to end the wasteful subsidies that taxpayers are forced to hand over to the big oil companies every year.

“Madam President, this is a no-brainer.

“Anyone who is serious about reducing the deficit should support this effort. It’s as simple as that.

“The big oil companies are already making billions of dollars in profits from families in America who are paying sky-high prices at the pump.

“In fact, the five biggest oil companies have made nearly a trillion dollars in profits in the last decade, and 36 billion dollars profit in the first three months of this year alone!!

“But the big oil companies aren’t just making money hand over fist from families paying sky-high prices at the pump,  they also have the gall to come back to those same taxpayers and demand billions more in subsidies that add directly to their profits!

“It just doesn’t make any sense. And it needs to end.

“So I think my colleagues here in the Senate who oppose this legislation need to explain to the American people why they think the big oil companies need even bigger profits, and why they think American taxpayers should continue to pad their coffers with unwarranted subsidies at the very time we are fighting to rein in the deficit.

“But Madam President, in addition to ending the wasteful subsidies to the big oil companies, we also need to act to end the speculation that’s a big part of what’s pushing prices at the pump higher and higher.

 “At a time when household budgets are already stretched thin, speculators continue to drive up prices and volatility in the oil markets.

“That’s why I was so angry and disappointed that the House Republicans’ budget proposal slashed funding for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission—the very agency charged with protecting consumers from excessive speculation in these markets.

“I actually think that says a lot about our very different priorities here in Congress.

“Republicans have pushed to slash spending by crippling agencies that middle class families depend on for basic protections, while Democrats are trying to reduce the deficit responsibly by ending subsidies for the big oil companies that don’t need them.

“So I urge my colleagues to put taxpayers and the middle class ahead of big oil,to end the wasteful giveaways to oil companies, and to use that money to pay down the deficit in a responsible way.

“I want to thank Senators Menendez, McCaskill, Tester, and Brown for their great work on this issue.

“Once again, I support the Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act,and I am going to keep fighting to end the oil and gas speculation that is hurting so many families in my home state of Washington and across the country.

“Thank you. I yield the floor.”