Senate Votes to Continue Big Oil’s $35 Billion in Subsidies: So Much for Deficit Reduction
Bernie Sanders: Thanks.
John Kerry and the Udalls — Shame on You
On June 15, twenty-one Democrats joined all of the Republican Senators in voting down Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) amendment to the Internal Revenue Code that would have stripped away billions in subsidies to big oil and gas companies. Sander’s amendment would have used $25 billion to pay down the deficit and $10 billion for a grant program to encourage energy-efficiency. Blue Wave News has a good article on the vote.
Sanders’ news release says, “Over the last decade, the five largest oil companies (Exxon Mobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, BP and Shell) made more than $750 billion in profits. These profitable companies simply don’t deserve tax relief,” Sanders said in a letter to other senators. “With a record-breaking $13 trillion national debt and an unsustainable federal deficit, the last thing we should be doing is giving tax breaks to oil and gas companies that have been making enormous profits.”
According to the Environmental Law Institute, the U.S. provided more than $70 billion in fossil fuel subsidies from 2002-2008, compared to only $12 billion for wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, and other renewable energy.
Forty Republicans (including Maine’s moderates Snowe and Collins) voted as a solid block against the amendment, despite their persistent bellowing about the need to control budgets. What is surprising is that 21 Democrats including some “environmental stalwarts” like Kerry and the Senators Udalls (NM and CO) voted with the Republicans. All of this at a time when oil continues to gush at rates that may approach 100,000 barrels per day from BP’s Deepwater Horizon blowout and while the public is furious at BP. The lack of unity by the Democrats on this key issue, and the lack of leadership by the White House squandered a fantastic opportunity to reduce the deficit and dependence on fossil fuels and to distinguish themselves from pro-oil republicans.
Why did Democrat’s break rank? Give your opinion by adding a comment below. It’s easy and its fun.
What you can do: If your Senator voted yes, call to thank he or she. If no, call or email and give ‘em a good tongue lashing. To see how your Senators voted: Click here. Call John Kerry’s office and express dismay.
Call the White House: And ask the President to put some muscle behind the effort to end subsidies to Big Oil.
See video of Senator Sanders speaking on behalf of the amendment on the Senate Floor.