(The Hill) – President Joe Biden on Friday called out Exxon for raking in large profits while addressing high inflation and calling on Congress to act to tackle it.
“Why don’t you tell them what Exxon’s profits were this year? This quarter? Exxon made more money than God this year,” he said in remarks at the Port of Los Angeles. “Exxon, start investing. Start paying your taxes.”
Biden has called on Congress to pass tax reform to make the wealthiest Americans and big corporations pay what he argues is their fair share as a way to reduce inflationary pressures. His remarks follow the release of data from the Labor Department earlier on Friday that showed the consumer price index rose 1 percent last month alone and 8.6 percent in the 12-month stretch ending in May.
“But make no mistake about it, I understand inflation is a real challenge to American families. Today’s inflation report confirmed what Americans already know: Putin’s price hike is hitting America hard. Gas prices at the pump, energy and food prices account for half of the monthly price increases since May,” Biden said, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
The president said that there are more than “9,000 permits for drilling” but that the oil companies “are not drilling.”
“Why don’t they drill more? Because they make more money not producing oil. Prices go up on the one hand. No. 2, the reason they are not drilling is they are buying back their own stock, should be taxed quite frankly. Buying back their own stock and not making new investments,” he said.
Biden also took a stab at the shipping industry and major shipping companies on Friday. He called on Congress to pass a bill this month to cut shipping costs as another way to lower the price of goods.
He said nine major ocean line shipping companies, which make up three consortiums, have raised their prices by as much as 1,000 percent, and Biden called on Congress to crack down on these corporations.
“Every once in a while something you learn makes you viscerally angry, like if you had the person in front of you, you’d want to pop them,” he said, referring to the corporations.
“Let those nine foreign shippers understand, the ripoff is over,” he said.
He touted the administration’s moves to lower the cost of moving goods through the supply chain, including efforts to decongest ports like the Port of Los Angeles since November and increase employment in the trucking industry.
And the president criticized Sen. Rick Scott’s (R-Fla.) tax plan, saying it would require everyone to pay taxes. The White House has tied congressional Republicans to Scott’s plan, although other lawmakers have either distanced themselves from or declined to embrace it.
“Look, this is not your father’s Republican Party. This is a different deal, it really is. I’ve worked with a lot of honorable Republicans, very conservative Republicans over the years when I was a Senator. But this is the MAGA gang. This is the MAGA crowd. I really mean it,” Biden said on Friday. “They have a fundamentally different view of the role of government and who should pay what.”