President Joe Biden pushed for eliminating tax breaks for fossil fuel companies during a speech on Wednesday in Crystal Lake, Illinois, saying that extra tax revenue from those companies would help pay for his agenda.

Biden’s remarks come as fuel prices have skyrocketed across the U.S. under his administration.

“The national gas price average has increased 40% since the start of the year, from $2.25 on January 1 to $3.13 today,” AAA reported this week. “Moreover, it is not stopping there. Motorists can expect gas prices to increase another 10–20 cents through the end of August, bringing the national average well over $3.25 this summer.”

“I want to provide tax cuts for businesses and consumers who invest in clean energy technologies like renewables, battery storage, next generation aviation fuels, electric vehicles,” Biden said. “I want to set the clean electric standard that moves us to a fully clean and reliable grid.”

“If we end tax breaks for fossil fuels and make polluters pay to clean up the messes they’ve made, that would raise $90 billion,” Biden later added. “I’m not asking them to do anything that is unfair, just not going to subsidize them anymore. They’re doing well, thank you. And the messes they made, they should clean up.”

WATCH:

PARTIAL TRANSCRIPT:

JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT (D): We can’t wait any longer to deal with climate crisis. We see with our own eyes, and it’s time to act. The bipartisan agreement we reached make some major strides. It’s going to allow the transition of thousands of all, for example, diesel school buses and city buses. We’re going to change them to electric buses.

There are roughly a half a million of these iconic yellow school buses on the road today, 95% of them run on diesel, for example. And Diesel pollutes the air, and is linked to asthma and other health problems, and hurts our communities and causes our students to miss school. I’ll put Americans to work capping tens of thousands of abandoned oil and gas wells that are leaking methane. It’s devastating. And the wages to cap these wells are the same wages that it took to dig the wells, making people be able to earn a prevailing wage to do it. There’s thousands of them.

But we need to go further. I want to provide tax cuts for businesses and consumers who invest in clean energy technologies like renewables, battery storage, next generation aviation fuels, electric vehicles. I want to set the clean electric standard that moves us to a fully clean and reliable grid.

These steps are going to create good-paying union jobs and spur demand for domestic manufacturing, accelerating clean energy and clean cars, growing our capacity to build those technologies on factory floors with union workers here in the United States. And we create a new generation of jobs and clean energy manufacturing.

I also want to enlist a new generation of climate conservation and resilience workers, like FDR did [with] the American work plan, for preserving our landscape with the Civilian Conservation Corps, it’s a similar thing. We can put Americans to work strengthening public lands and waters and making our communities, rural and urban, more resilient against extreme weather.

We can take on the long overdue work in advancing environmental justice by addressing pollution. My plan is also going to give grants to spur innovative policies and local projects like installing community solar and storage in disadvantaged communities. Replacing streetlights that are made in America with LED bulbs that cost a whole lot less and last a whole lot longer. Making upgrades in homes and school[s] and community centers to boost energy efficiency and cut electric bills.

Folks, I’ve laid a lot of plans here, but that’s because it’s time, and we have to think bigger, we have to act bolder, and we have to build back better. When we passed the American Rescue Plan, the naysayers and the doubters said it wouldn’t work. Well, we created over 3 million jobs since I took office. More jobs in the first months of a presidential administration at any time in American history.

And last week, the Congressional Budget Office doubled their projections of the 2021 economic growth from 3.2% to 7.4%, and the OECD thinks it could be higher. That puts the America Rescue Plan, and our work is going to move forward to do a lot of things, including, we’re close to defeating the virus.

The last time the economy grew at this rate was in 1984 and Ronald Reagan was telling us it was an “American morning.” Well, this is going to be an American century.

With my American Families Plan and the other elements of the Build Back Better agenda, experts in Wall Street, analysts have said that we will create millions of good-paying jobs for years and decades to come, not just in the near term. So I’m going to be making the case to the American people until the job is done, until we bring this bipartisan deal home, until we meet the needs of families today and the economy of tomorrow.

And we can pay for it. Let me give you a rough example — by the way, the plan for infrastructure is paid for, it’s paid for. And this plan that I’m talking about, which is really expensive if you add it all up — well, guess what? The fact is that it’s paid for as well.

Let me tell you how we’re going to pay for it. Some of the ways to pay for the rest of it is, for the last couple of years for example, 55 of the Fortune 500 companies making billions of dollars did not pay a single penny in taxes. Not one single cent. Well, I don’t want to punish anybody, but everybody, and I hope someday my grandchildren grow up to be billionaires, that’d be wonderful, especially for a guy for 36 years was listed as the poorest man in the United States Congress, but having said that, all kidding aside, everybody has to pay their fair share. I’m not trying to gouge anybody. Everybody has to get in the game. If we put in place a minimum 15% tax on the profits of corporations, the ones that didn’t pay any tax, that would raise a quarter of a trillion dollars, $214 billion.

There’s a loophole in the system called stepped-up basis. That loophole goes, if I made a capital gains and I was a wealthy person and I was going to cash in my stock and I was going to have to pay a tax, I was going to make $400,000 and I was going to pay X amount in taxes, if on the way to cash it in, I get hit by a truck, God forbid and died, and it was left to my daughter, there’d be no tax paid. It’s not an inheritance tax. It was a tax due 10 seconds earlier. We close that loophole, that saves us $400 billion a year. Not a year, $400 billion over this period, which is enough to pay for the Child Care Tax Credit. If we end tax breaks for fossil fuels and make polluters pay to clean up the messes they’ve made, that would raise $90 billion. I’m not asking them to do anything that that is unfair, just not going to subsidize them anymore. They’re doing well, thank you. And the messes they made, they should clean up.

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