Obama urges Congress to end oil tax breaks, refocus on alternative energy

President Obama pressed Congress on Thursday to end $4 billion in tax subsidies to U.S. oil companies, saying he’s not concerned about them during record-high gas prices and doubling down on his vow to focus on alternative energy.

“I’m not worried about oil companies,” the president said in a Rose Garden speech. “Wind and solar power … energy-efficient cars. That’s the future.”

However, a Senate vote on repealing the tax breaks failed about 30 minutes later.

Congressional Republicans say ending the tax breaks will lead to higher fuel prices, raising costs on oil companies and affecting their spending on exploration.

Obama couldn't end the subsidies when Democrats controlled both chambers of Congress, before Republicans last year recaptured control of the House.

“Members of Congress have a choice to make,” Obama said Thursday. “They can stand with big oil or they can stand with the American people.