Thursday, December 4, 2008

Obama Spokesperson Reaffirms Commitment To Rolling Back Oil Company Subsidies

A spokesperson for the Obama transition team is reaffirming the President-elect's commitment to rolling back the subsidies that oil companies enjoy, confirming that Obama's campaign promise on this score is still fully operative.

"Yes," replied Obama transition team spokesperson Nick Shapiro, when we asked him whether Obama remained committed to rolling back the oil company subsidies.

We posed the question to the Obama in the wake of yesterday's news that Obama wasn't imposing a windfall profits tax on the oil companies, something that got some progressives to worry whether Obama was preparing to soften his policies in the face of corporate opposition.

The Obama spokesperson's reaffirmation of his commitment to rolling back oil company subsidies could help mitigate such angst. It's unclear how or when the rollback will take place, since Obama hasn't even taken office yet.

The reason this is noteworthy is that the Obama campaign has largely refused public comment on its legislative priorities. Yesterday The Huffington Post was able to get an Obama spokesperson to offer the same one word answer -- "yes" -- to the question of whether Obama remained committed to the Employee Free Choice Act, the leading priority of the big unions.

On the subject of the windfall profits tax, Obama aides argue that there's no story there to begin with. They say that the policies were meant to be triggered by oil prices above $80 a barrel and that when the Obama campaign rolled out his middle class rescue plan in mid-October it didn't have the tax in it, because prices had dropped, meaning there's nothing new here.

"Obama announced the policy during the campaign because oil prices were above $80 per barrel," an Obama aide said. "They are currently below that now and expected to stay below that."
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