WASHINGTON, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- High gasoline prices coupled with higher profits for major energy companies means it's time to stop subsidizing the industry, said U.S. Rep. Ed. Markey.
Markey, D-Mass., ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee, said he would propose legislation to repeal about $7 billion in tax subsidies given to energy companies.
"As Congress works to address the numerous fiscal challenges facing our nation, it is time for Republicans in Congress to join me to end big oil's subsidies, which is a common sense deficit reduction measure available right now," Markey said in a statement.
Major oil companies like BP announced fourth quarter profits at the same time that some regional U.S. markets are paying record levels for retail gasoline. Motor group AAA reports drivers in Massachusetts paid, on average, $3.66 for a gallon of regular unleaded, up 18 cents compared to last month and 12 cents higher than the national average.
U.S. President Barack Obama suggested Tuesday that "political dysfunction" was hampering economic progress in a country facing a series of automatic federal budget cuts. There's no reason, he said, to threaten funding for things like clean energy because of the desire to protect "a few special interest tax loopholes."
House Republicans suggested they'd press for cuts in federal spending.