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.
But this is the status quo that the Republicans voted to protect:
Just this past January the typical household paid about $290.76 for gasoline, up by $25 over the same one-month time span in January 2011. It looks like households will face a similar increase in gasoline expenditures in February with gas prices on the rise even though demand is the lowest it’s been since 1997. This especially affects the 82 million households that spend 6 percent or more of their annual household budgets on gasoline.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.
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.