If Medicare is on table for McConnell, Menendez says he wants oil company subsidies on table

U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) is sending a letter to Vice President Joe Biden demanding that $21 billion tax subsidies for the five biggest oil companies be included as part of any congressional budget deal.

“Mitch McConnell has said Medicare is on the table for his vote,” Menendez said this morning in a conference call with the media. “Then it should be understood that this oil company subsidy will be on the table for several of us. …This is about shared sacrifice for all of us.”

Including Menendez, 20 Senate Democrats signed the letter.

“We all need to make sacrifices to lower the decifit and that means the big five oil companies,” said Menendez, who noted the companies’ trillion dollars in profits and tens of billions in taxpayer subsidies.

“They have spent seven times more on stock buybacks and dividends than exploration, which means people are helping oil company executives enrich themselves when they’re already paying four dollars a galllon at the pump,” said the senator. 

Menendez said Republican Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) have in the past indicated their willinglesss to allow the tax breaks for the five largest oil companies to cease.

“I would assume there would be support on the other side; hopefully that would drive this being accepted as part of a budget deal,” he said.

The only announced 2012 opponent to Menendez, Tea Party Senate candidate Ian Linker, referred to the Democrat’s demand as a call for more taxes.

“With the economy growing at 1.8% in the first quarter and 5.8 million Americans out of work for more than 6 months and millions more unemployed, Bob Menendez should not be talking about raising taxes on American manufacturers and small businesses. We need pro-growth initiatives that will get the economy moving and businesses hiring,” said Linker, an attorney from Ridgewood.

“Menendez claims to be for the American worker which is why he aggressively supports Buy American initiatives, but raising taxes on domestic manufacturers and other job creators will further dampen economic growth, hurt American workers and consumers, and force jobs overseas.” If Medicare is on table for McConnell, Menendez says he wants oil company subsidies on table