On March 29 Republicans in the Senate, calling the bill a political stunt, blocked legislation to strip billions of dollars in tax breaks for the biggest U.S. oil companies. A last minute entreaty by President Obama wasn’t enough to convince senators to strip the oil and gas industry of tax incentives. The Repeal Big Oil Tax Subsidies bill failed to advance by a vote of 51-47. It needed 60 votes to overcome a procedural hurdle.
“With record profits and rising production, I’m not worried about the big oil companies,” Obama said in the White House Rose Garden. “... I think it’s time they got by without more help from taxpayers, who are having a tough enough time paying their bills and filling up their tanks.”
Some Senate Democrats, mostly from oil-rich states, were not supportive of the legislation. They included Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), and Jim Webb (D-Va.). Voting with the Democrats was Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Me.).
President Obama had argued the tax breaks were more than Americans could afford. “Last year, the three biggest U.S. oil companies took home more than $80 billion in profit. Exxon pocketed nearly $4.7 million every hour,” he said, citing an analysis showing that the big companies pocket another $200 million in quarterly profits every time the price of gasoline goes up by 1 cent. The bill, sponsored by Robert Menendez, a Democrat, would have cut billions of dollars in tax breaks for the “big five” oil companies: Exxon Mobil Corp, BP Plc, ConocoPhillips, Chevron Corp and Royal Dutch Shell Plc.
Same ‘ol, same ‘ol: Republicans representing their benefactors such as big oil, the mega wealthy and corporations (“Supreme Court Person”) and the Democrats, the American people (“real Person”). What boggles the mind is how any middle-class American could be so hoodwinked as to vote against their best interests. Perhaps they feel that voting so, somehow makes them a member of the 99 percent or even 98 percent country club. They dream on while they get stepped on. Ah, to dream.