• May 20, 2011
As expected, a Democratic bill that would have put an end to the multi-billion-dollar annual tax subsidies for oil companies Chevron, Shell, BP, ConocoPhillips and Exxon Mobil failed to overcome a Republican filibuster on Tuesday evening. The heavily partisan 52-in-favor, 48-against vote fell eight shy of the 60 required to bring the bill to the floor.

If passed, the bill would have eliminated $12 billion in subsidies for production of oil within the U.S. and cut $6 billion in credits for taxes that oil companies pay to foreign governments. Finally, the bill would have put an end to oil companies writing off some drilling and development costs.

According to the Huffington Post, Republicans say that the bill unfairly singles out oil companies and would hinder their ability to hire American workers, thus leading to reduced oil production and increased dependence on foreign oil. Democrats argue that subsidies are unnecessary given that oil companies typically report profits in the multi-billion dollar range.

Three Democrats – Mary Landrieu (D-LA, pictured), Mark Begich (D-AK), and Ben Nelson (D-NE) – voted with Republicans to maintain the subsidies, while Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Susan Collins (R-ME) sided with the Democrats.

As this chart – based on data from the Center for Responsive Politics – shows, the 48 senators who voted with the oil industry received over $21 million in oil-related contributions, while the 52 senators who voted to eliminate subsidies received a mere $5.4 million. Looks like money talks.


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  • 121 Comments
      P
      • 3 Years Ago
      Do none of you commenters bother to learn about important issues before spouting off what some know-nothing on TV tells you? These subsidies were instituted ages ago when oil was around $17 a barrel, when there was no incentive to drill for more oil. Congress voted to give them huge subsidies as an incentive to drill (thanks largely to lobbyists buying votes). Cut decades forward to 2011: Oil has been bouncing around $100 a barrel and even the best spin-masters can't justify these subsidies. There is NO RATIONAL, NON-PARTISAN reason for them. No economic rationale exists to justify giving over $18 billion of OUR tax dollars to corporations that *NET* that much profit in just over a quarter. It's not about "jobs" it's about padding profit margins for people who get bonuses on quarterly numbers. To do this now, in our age of fiscal stress, is totally unconscionable. This vote was 100% bought and paid for by oil lobbyists and makes my party (Republicans) look like the party of corruption it appears to have become. To defend it here or at your family dinner table is to reveal either a) stunningly willful ignor/ance or b) a level of partisanship that transcends the health of our country or the very concept of American justice. Learn the issues people - Your own party has sold your tax dollars off.
      CEC
      • 3 Years Ago
      This was bill was about balancing our governments budget. I find it funny that Rebs, keep whining about how much this government spends, but then filibusters a bill that cuts 4 billion. Anybody see hypocrisy here? This government needs to CUT 46% of what it spends just to balance the budget. The only way to reduce debt is by increasing revenue, and cutting spending. Neither of the current parties are proposing anything that will reduce our debt.
        Kimithechamp
        • 3 Years Ago
        @CEC
        I don't know what rebels have anything to do with this, but didn't we just give Brazil a bunch of money we don't have to drill off their shores? Yeah, its coming back to me, it was right around BP's drilling fiasco... yeah, something like $2 billion to help Petrobras in their offshore drilling. So we have the money to help Brazil drill in the ocean (a much much deeper drill than BP's in the gulf) one day, and the next we decide the only way to make back the couple TRILLION we don't have, is to tax oil? Does anyone remember if businesses are in existence? Somewhere during school (no doubt one of those moron-producing public schools, ew) I remember being taught it was to make money or something... And once they start making money, they don't want to go back to making less... and because they're a company, they can pass along any increase cost to them, down the consumer, to ensure their profit margin is unaffected. Four dollar gas, increase in cost to the producers... I'm guessing they wouldn't just eat the $18 billion and say "thanks."
      xbolx
      • 3 Years Ago
      Corruption has begun to rule our country more and more openly.....
        NightFlight
        • 3 Years Ago
        @xbolx
        Without a doubt. Same in the food, agricultural, and pharmaceutical fields as well. It is disturbing.
        JimV
        • 3 Years Ago
        @xbolx
        That's right. The problem isn't rich people, it's not wall street, it's not republicans or democrats, it's not conservatives or liberals. It's greed and corruption.
      flammablewater
      • 3 Years Ago
      How is this not related to cars? This site reports on companies going bankrupt, or supply chains running low, how is news about oil companies different? Cars need oil. Also this isn't partisan reporting. The people receiving oil money voted in favor of the oil companies, Democrat or Republican. There were simply far more Republicans on the list. Facts aren't biased.
        Fugsworth@yahoo.com
        • 3 Years Ago
        @flammablewater
        I'm so glad somebody gets this. A bunch of people are decrying this article as biased and as far as I can tell, that's just because it makes Republicans look bad. Since it consists entirely of objective statements of fact, if it makes Republicans look bad then that's because they're being sh*tty.
        Hazdaz
        • 3 Years Ago
        @flammablewater
        Of course FACTS are biased when some people have grown accustomed to the FAUX News way of "reporting" on events. They think that anything - even when 100% true - that shows their beloved Republican scumbag politicians in a negative light is biased. I just can't wait to see the FAUX News spin on this. They will either not report on it, or add their own ridiculous spin - possibly even claiming that the Dems were at fault. Propaganda at its "finest".
        mkbruin
        • 3 Years Ago
        @flammablewater
        In their zeal to put Republicans on the spot, Democrats neglected one key technicality: eliminating tax loopholes raises revenues, and any legislation that raises revenues must, according to the Constitution, originate in the House of Representatives.
          flammablewater
          • 3 Years Ago
          @mkbruin
          You're right. It was a dirty trick by the Democrats to make the Republicans look like jerks and reveal the power of big oil money in politics. It worked as planned.
      KAG
      • 3 Years Ago
      Go figure, it didn't pass. They have to many of them with the oil companies in there pockets to stop.
        Molly
        • 3 Years Ago
        @KAG
        Your spelling and sentence structure indicates that you are probably about 9 years old. Am I correct?? MOLLY
          dreamer96n
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Molly
          Jus' thu good ol fashun Amerikun educashun sistem at wurk.
      DetroitRockCity
      • 3 Years Ago
      Good to see the free-market hard at work.
      Bruno Tata
      • 3 Years Ago
      1. What an absolute shock to me. You mean politicians will do favors for you if you give them contributions? 2. This is at best marginally auto related. Sounds like a way to inject politics into an auto blog. You might reconsider that as people probably come here to get away from all that on other websites. 3. What are the odds the voting yea/nay would change if this were agricultural subsidies we were talking about instead of oil?
      Essende
      • 3 Years Ago
      Whats amazing to me is the entire "lobbying" industry. How the hell is this even legal simply amazes me. Lets just call it for what it is, corruption. Nothing will change in USA politics until someone with balls with make "lobbying" absolutely illegal. As far as oil subsidies, well, $12 billion might seem like a significant number but A) if it was eliminated, the gas stations would just pass the cost on to consumer and B) $12 billion in subsidies is nothing compared to the amount of money we spend on military to help secure regions in the world so that oil companies can gain access to lucrative oil fields.
        diablo000
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Essende
        What they really need to end is Speculation. It still amazes me how these people are allowed to artificially move prices around just because they feel like it.
      Wunderbird
      • 3 Years Ago
      It doesn't matter which side you are on politically. ALL politicians are in it for themselves. In the end, we are all going to pay for it. Either through tax subsidies or at the pump. Just like any other company that is in business to make money, the oil companies will pass the savings (or lack there of) to you.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      bke599
      • 3 Years Ago
      And now we return to our regularly scheduled discussion of . . . autos.
      abqhudson
      • 3 Years Ago
      Three thoughts: Please do not rail against the oil companies for the amount of corporate taxes they pay. They are not responsible - congress is. So if you are not happy with the taxes, please rail against the congress. Also, please understand who pays those corporate taxes. The customers of the corporations do - that's us. So if you want to pay more taxes (and see your cost of gas and oil increase), please encourage your representative and senators to increase them. The economic illiteracy in the country is appalling.
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