Senators Bankrolled by Oil Industry Block Subsidy Repeal

"WASHINGTON -- An attempt to repeal some of the billion-dollar tax breaks enjoyed by the five biggest oil companies failed in the Senate Tuesday evening, as expected, when all but two Republicans and three Democrats voted to block its consideration. The final vote was 52 in favor, 48 against -- eight votes shy of the filibuster-proof majority needed to bring the bill to the floor.

All things considered, it was a fairly meek attack on the massive oil and gas subsidies that taxpayers are footing -- even as consumers suffer from high gas prices and industry profits swell to near-record proportions. Tuesday's Senate proposal was only to cut $2 billion worth of subsidies a year from the biggest five companies, and the proceeds would have gone to deficit reduction. ...

In spite of a major Democratic push, the watered-down oil subsidies repeal couldn't overcome the industry's hold on Congress.

Campaign donations from the industry are only part of the reason the bill was defeated. There's also an army of lobbyists: The oil and gas companies have spent more than $1 billion on lobbying-related activities since 1998. But looking simply at the amount of money the industry has given senators over the years -- either through political action committees or contributions by people associated with oil and gas companies -- is still telling."

Dan Froomkin reports for the Huffington Post May 18, 2011.


Source: Huffington Post, 05/20/2011