(CNN) - Senate Democrats are calling oil and gas industry executives to testify next week about the billions of dollars they get in tax subsidies at the same time they are earning enormous profits and consumers are facing steep price hikes at the pumps.
Democrats also will seek a vote on legislation to block the subsidies to the largest oil companies and use the savings to either fund clean energy programs or reduce the deficit, according to a Senate Democratic leadership aide.
The moves come as the Republican controlled House is pushing through a series of bills – supported by the oil industry – to open up additional drilling in the U.S. that stalled after the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.
"Now is not the time to stand idly by while large oil and gas companies get billions in tax breaks," said Sen. Max Baucus, D-Montana, the chairman of the Finance Committee which will hold the hearing next week.
Senate Republican leaders have repeatedly opposed efforts to repeal the subsidies, arguing oil companies will make up the losses through higher prices on consumers.
In a speech in Indianapolis Friday, President Obama argued that the U.S. can't drill its way out of its energy crisis and slammed the tax breaks the big oil companies get.
Democratic aides said they would not release the names of the executives who will testify until their witness list is finalized, probably next week.