Time to cut energy subsidies?

Rep. Eliot Engel weighs in


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," March 1, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF "YOUR WORLD": Meanwhile, fair and balanced, to New York Congressman Eliot Engel, who says these green company subsidies are worth saving are worth having.

Congressman, you might have heard what the Senator was saying, stop them all. You say no.

REP. ELIOT ENGEL, D-N.Y.: Well, I actually do agree with some of the things that the senator said.

Look, we are facing some very difficult choices. We’re spending more than we are taking in. And I think that can only be ameliorated by a combination of spending less, some tax breaks for the wealthy people should be cut. And some tax breaks for big industry that is doing well on its own should be cut.

I think everything, really, needs to be on the table. But big oil had a record profit last year of $137 billion, and they don't need subsidies. We have to look to save money where we need to save it. And this is where we can start.


CAVUTO: That's fine, if you want to taking away their subsidy. And a lot of people would agree with that, even those who like the oil companies. Then do not compound the error then by taking those breaks and doubling them for an industry that has yet to bear much fruit.

ENGEL: Well, I don't disagree with that. I think that we have to pick and choose. I think it's very good to help...

CAVUTO: But why? No, wait a minute. Why do we have to pick and choose?

ENGEL: Well, because I think that the energy policy in this country - - I've always said that we need to have a balanced energy policy.

For instance, I think we need to look at everything.


ENGEL: We need to look at nuclear. We need to look at oil drilling, obviously. We need to look at natural gas. I’m for flex fuel cars, where every car can run on ethanol, methanol, or gasoline. I think we should leave no stone unturned. So I do think that...

CAVUTO: But in picking and choosing and using taxpayers to make that picking and choosing, are you not deciding what you think is the next big thing, and not allowing American and general consumers in the market to decide what’s the next big thing?

ENGEL: Well, I think we are paid to make decisions.

And if people don’t like our decisions, they can, you know, act accordingly.


CAVUTO: Yes, but by then, it is too late, right, when we’re billions of dollars down.

So, you have other responsibilities, but who are you -- and, by the way, your Republican colleagues -- to pick and choose what you think are the winners du jour, right?

ENGEL: Well, I just think that in a time of austerity, we shouldn’t picking a lot.


CAVUTO: But you are. You are. This administration is.

ENGEL: Well, but there are some budding technologies I think that need a little nudge, need a little help.


CAVUTO: Well, we’ve nudged them and then we keep coming up, you know, bad.

ENGEL: Well, I think maybe we are nudging them a little too much.

I do think that we shouldn’t be at either extreme. But certainly big oil doesn’t need subsidies. They’re doing just fine on their own.

CAVUTO: OK. Congressman, good seeing you again.

ENGEL: Same here, Neil. Thank you.

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