Obama Asks Congress to Repeal Oil Tax Breaks

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There's a fierce debate being held among lawmakers in Washington, D.C. this week over tax breaks for the oil industry.

On Monday, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, told ABC News that he was willing to "take a look" at repealing the multi-million dollar tax subsidies that major oil companies enjoy.

President Obama then wrote a letter to congressional leaders on Tuesday, calling for a repeal of those oil industry tax breaks in the face of rising gas prices. The White House conceded that plan would do nothing in the short term to lower gasoline prices.

"High oil and gasoline prices are weighing on the minds and pocketbooks of every American family," Obama wrote. But he also added that "there is no silver bullet to address rising gas prices in the short term."

Gas pump prices have climbed for 35 consecutive days. The national average rose by a penny to hit $3.87 a gallon on Tuesday, more than a dollar higher than a year ago. The price already has exceeded $4 a gallon in some regions of the country.

Boehner aides on Tuesday sought to clarify the House speaker's stance, stressing that he was not advocating repeal of the tax breaks.

"He has said all along that he is opposed to raising taxes," Boehner spokesman Kevin Smith said. "That's his position."

The tax breaks have survived multiple attempts to repeal them in the face of heavy oil industry lobbying. Some of them have remained in place since the 1920s.

Another Boehner spokesman, Brendan Buck, said Obama's suggestions "would simply raise taxes and increase the price at the pump." And Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said: "The president's latest call to raise taxes on U.S. energy is as predictable as it is counterproductive."

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