Yesterday, the U.S. Senate failed to get the 60 votes needed to eliminate $24 billion in taxpayer subsidies for the five richest oil companies. Lining up neatly by parties, the 57-41 vote had all the Republicans, except for the two senators from Maine, joined by four Democrats, filibuster Sen. Bob Menendez’s (D-NJ) bill to cut subsidies to Big Oil and pay for investments in wind power and energy efficiency.

Not only was the split along party lines, the 47 senators who voted against the bill have received $23,582,500 in career contributions from the oil and gas industries, compared to $5,873,600 for the 51 senators who voted for the bill, according to a ThinkProgress analysis.

Meanwhile, Maplight reports that interest groups who opposed the bill (including major oil and gas producers, manufacturing groups, and chambers of commerce) gave on average 14 times more to the senators who voted no ($264,051) as they did to the senators who supported the bill ($18,561).

Before the vote, Sen. Frank Lautenberg took to the floor to note just one of the things these “immoral” tax breaks pay for: enormous oil company executive salaries. The total combined income of all the residents of a county in Mississippi is less than the annual salary of the CEO at ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, or Chevron:

“A single oil company CEO makes more in one year than all the people in that county all together. They’re already contributing to his salary when they fill up at the gas tank,” he said. “Working people are struggling to fill up their tanks while oil executives are struggling to carry their big fat paychecks to the bank.”

This is just one way Big Oil gets what it wants from Congress. It also spent $148 million on lobbying last year.


Filed under: Congress, Lobbying

February 16, 2012
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  • Nik Nikkel

    We, the taxpayers, would be much better off, if these corrupt Senators voted the bribe money directly to themselves. Then it would cost us only $23 million for their bribes. Under the current system of voting subsidies to the oil companies and then taking their $23 million in bribes from the companies it costs us 1,000 times as much.

  • Bill49259

    Proud to say both of the Michigan Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabbenow Stood up for their constituents here in Mich. and voted to repeal their tax breaks.

    • Astanwilliams

      Wish I could say the same about my senators, they’re repugs TN.

    • Kevinfitzz

      Feinstein and Boxer here in California voted correctly, too. The oil companies, with their cute commercials on now, are diabolical. I’ll add the banks (Bank of America) to that, too. Damn it, they need to be ‘broken up’.

  • Mysu48

    They are the House of Reprehensible,s and the U.S. Bribemepleaseators. All working as the US Comode. “Get the Money Out of Congress”.

  • guest

    I think the day has come our Founding Fathers warned us about. That our Democracy would work until the Congress discovered they could rip off the American people. I’m not sure, think it was Thomas Jefferson or Benjamin Franklin that said this. Help me out history buffs.

    • CatKinNY

      Jefferson was terrified of the day when the corporations (and yes, he used that word!) bribed their way into running the country. As usual, he was right. Wouldn’t you love to get his take on the unlimited sale of assault weapons to drug dealers and schitzophrenics as demanded by the 2nd Amendment, as interpreted by the NRA and the arms manufactures? He thought we should have a Constitutional Convention every 25 years because he ~ gasp ~ knew it wouldn’t be 1789 forever.

  • Kevinfitzz

    this makes me sick.

  • Jamangana

    You should publish a list of the culprits

  • Leekoepfli

    These people who pillage our lands are not part of the social conscience.
    They are greedy pigs who serve only themselves. Everything else is consequential.
    “We create jobs!” And get rich exploiting the natural resources which belong to
    the country…not the landowner or lease holder. This oil comes from under other
    peoples land too!

    Sweet deal for a few

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