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Big oil protected by GOP, Democrats say

  |   April 6, 2011 at 8:50 AM
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WASHINGTON, April 6 (UPI) -- A Democratic lawmaker in the United States said his Republican counterparts are leaving lush tax breaks in place for big oil despite efforts to cut spending.

A U.S. federal government shutdown looms as bipartisan bickering is creating delays in passing a federal spending package.

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., chairman of the House Budget Committee, released a plan to cut $179 billion from the 2012 budget.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., who sits on the same committee, said the Republic plans cut some sectors too deeply while leaving major tax breaks in place for the oil and natural gas industry.

"To govern is to choose and it is not courageous to protect tax breaks for millionaires, oil companies and other big-money special interests while slashing our investments in education, ending the current healthcare guarantees for seniors on Medicare and denying healthcare coverage to tens of millions of Americans," Van Hollen was quoted by the Platts news service as saying.

Republicans counter that big tax breaks are necessary to encourage investments in the domestic energy sector.

U.S. President Barack Obama in his budget request asked for $10.2 billion to fund renewable energy programs and $29.5 billion for the Department of Energy for 2012.

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