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Welch targets oil companies

WASHINGTON, D.C. - As oil companies report first quarter profits, Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vermont) took to the House floor May 5 urging Congress to repeal federal grants to the oil industry. Just last week, Exxon Mobil reported profits of nearly $11 billion in the first three months of the year, a 69 percent increase over last year.

"While oil companies are doing quite well, Vermonters are not. They simply can't afford to fill their gas tanks," Welch said. "Congress should be taking steps to cut gas prices, not look the other way while oil companies line their pockets with taxpayer support."

Welch has been working on multiple fronts to provide relief to strapped consumers. He has repeatedly urged President Obama to tap the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve, a move which has a history of immediately bringing down prices by up to 33 percent. Welch said he also worked to crackdown on energy market speculation by drafting legislation to close a tax loophole that rewards speculators for profiting from oil price spikes.

Welch said Goldman Sachs estimated that speculation was adding $27 to the price of a barrel of oil. Additionally, the congressman has introduced legislation to crack down on price gouging at the gas pump.

But when it comes to the topic of increasing domestic oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, Alaska, and elsewhere, to lower gasoline prices and reduce the use of foreign oil, Welch has been largely silent.

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