President Barack Obama, turning his political sights on snowy New Hampshire, demanded that Congress eliminate oil and gas company subsidies that he called an outrageous government "giveaway." Though politically a long shot, the White House believes the idea resonates at a time of high gasoline prices.
"Let's put every single member of Congress on record: you can stand with oil companies or you can stand up for the American people," Obama said.
Obama has repeatedly called for an end to about $4 billion in annual tax breaks and subsidies for oil and gas companies, government support that Obama has said is unwarranted at a time of burgeoning profits and rising domestic production.
"It's outrageous. It's inexcusable. I'm asking Congress: eliminate this oil industry giveaway right away," he said.
It was Obama's latest and most direct appeal to Congress to act on the tax breaks, and an administration official said the White House expects Congress to soon take up a measure ending some subsidies. The official requested anonymity to avoid speaking publicly without authorization.
Republican presidential contenders and GOP leaders in Congress denounced the idea and called on Obama to take further steps to expand oil production in the United States.