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Sen. Mitch McConnell, leading the way to more obscene Big Oil profits (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
Another day in the Senate, another filibuster by Republicans on behalf of corporate America. The Senate voted on advancing a bill to repeal subsidies and tax breaks to Big Oil, and while the majority supported the bill, the filibuster held in the final 51-47 vote (Republicans Mark Kirk and Orrin Hatch were not present to vote).
Maine Republicans Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins voted with Democrats, while Democrats Mark Begich (AK), Mary Landrieu (LA), Jim Webb (VA) and Ben Nelson (NE) switched sides. Landrieu and Begich, being from oil producing states, were needlessly voting for self protection, since there wasn't a chance the filibuster could be broken. Webb and Nelson, both retiring, are completely inexcusable.
High oil and gasoline prices in 2011 enabled the big five companies to rake in $137 billion in profits last year. These enormous earnings contributed to the $1 trillion in profits they earned from 2001 through 2011. Despite a profit figure with 12 zeroes—count them: $1,000,000,000,000—these oil giants are major players in the lobbying efforts to retain $4 billion in annual tax breaks for oil and gas companies that they clearly do not need. In the scheme of all things Big Oil, these tax breaks are small, particularly in relation to their profits and in light of the fact that in 2011 these companies also had a combined $58 billion in cash reserves, nearly 30 times more than they received in special tax breaks.
The American taxpayer is subsidizing those billions Big Oil is raking in, while we pay more and more at the pump every week. At least we know now, definitively, which side the Republicans are on.
Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 11:41 AM PDT.