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Senate Votes to Continue Big Oil’s $35 Billion in Subsidies: So Much for Deficit Reduction

June 21, 2010

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.

VT Senator Bernie Sanders in Action; photo: http://www.examiner.com

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.

George W consoles John Kerry saying, "Now, John don’t get discouraged. Sooner or later you’ll figure out what I did a long time ago. OIL is your bread and butter. your cake with icing. Enjoy!

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.


SUBSIDIZE THIS? Photo: NOAA


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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Henry S. Cole, Ph.D. permalink*
    June 23, 2010 8:29 am

    Wow: On March 9 Senate Republicans along with some Democrats killed funding for a $1.3 billion for summer jobs for young people this year and a $1.3 billion extension of enhanced subsidies for poor families with children.

    But here is what Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) said, “Why do we keep passing on to our children these debts?”

    Hmmmm: In apparent lapse of concern for our children’s financial future, Mr. Gregg voted last week to continue $35 billion in subsidies for big oil companies.

  2. Henry S. Cole, Ph.D. permalink*
    June 22, 2010 2:04 pm

    We received this comment from Sam Flenner, who responded to our story by sending letters to media in the Indianapolis area. Sam is the Outreach Associate at the Environmental Integrity Project. Here is the text of his letter:

    June 22, 2010 1:41 pm

    Dear Editor,

    On June 15, twenty-one Democrats and all of the Republican Senators voted down an amendment to the Internal Revenue Code that would have stripped away billions in subsidies to big oil and gas companies. The amendment would have used $25 billion to pay down the deficit and $10 billion for a grant program to encourage energy-efficiency.
    Both Senators Richard Lugar and Evan Bayh voted to support the subsidies to the already profitable oil companies.

    Over the last decade, the five largest oil companies (Exxon Mobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, BP and Shell) made more than $750 billion in profits. Do these profitable companies deserve tax relief? With a record-breaking $13 trillion national debt and an unsustainable federal deficit why are our Legislators giving tax breaks to oil and gas companies that have been making enormous profits? Where is the reporting? Where is the conservative outrage?

    Sam Flenner
    2028 N. Berwick Ave.
    Indianapolis, IN 46222
    317-850-0436
    sam_flenner@yahoo.com

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