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Denouncing ‘Handouts to Big Oil,’ Biden Calls on Congress to End $40 Billion in Taxpayer Subsidies for Fossil Fuels

Denouncing ‘Handouts to Big Oil,’ Biden Calls on Congress to End $40 Billion in Taxpayer Subsidies for Fossil Fuels

“Biden campaigned on eliminating fossil fuel giveaways, and voters agree by a huge margin,” said one climate activist.

Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry listens as President Joe Biden speaks on tackling climate change in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, D.C. on January 27, 2021.

Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry listens as President Joe Biden speaks on tackling climate change in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, D.C. on January 27, 2021. (Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

In a speech Wednesday outlining his new executive actions aimed at confronting the “existential threat” of the climate crisis, President Joe Biden said he plans to ask the Democrat-controlled Congress to pass legislation eliminating the tens of billions in taxpayer subsidies the federal government continues to hand Big Oil even as the planetary emergency wreaks havoc in the U.S. and across the globe.

“Unlike previous administrations, I don’t think the federal government should give handouts to Big Oil to the tune of $40 billion in fossil fuel subsidies,” said Biden. “I’m gonna be going to the Congress and asking them to eliminate those subsidies.”

While the president did not offer specifics on what he would want a potential bill to look like, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and other progressive lawmakers introduced legislation last year that proposed ending direct federal subsidies to the fossil fuel industry and “abolishing dozens of tax loopholes, subsidies, and other special interest giveaways littered throughout the federal tax code.”

The lawmakers estimated the End Polluter Welfare Act would save taxpayers up to $150 billion over the next decade.

Watch Biden’s remarks:

Biden’s call for legislative action on fossil fuel subsidies came just before he signed an executive order that, according to a White House summary, “directs federal agencies to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies as consistent with applicable law”—a move that would not touch handouts mandated by Congress.

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