The contingent of senators that successfully blocked a bill that would have ended tax breaks for the five biggest U.S. oil and gas companies have received $23,582,500 in career contributions from the industry, as reported by Rebecca Leber at Think Progress.
In a 51-47 procedural vote Thursday, 43 Senate Republicans and four Democrats filibustered to protect $24 billion in tax breaks for Big Oil.
About half of the $24 billion in savings over 10 years would have been used to reduce the federal deficit.
The other half would have been reinvested in tax breaks for biodiesel, wind, cellulosic ethanol and energy-efficiency programs.
From Think Progress:
– The senators who voted for Big Oil’s handouts received on average over four times as much career oil cash as those who voted to end them.
– Overall, Senate Republicans have taken $23.2 million in oil and gas contributions. Democrats received $6.66 million.
Leber published a full list of oil contributions for the Senate. The biggest beneficiaries:
Senate Republic Leader Mitch KcConnel (R-Ky.) — $1,154,011 in his career including $759, 450 since 2006.
John Cornyn (R-Texas) — 1,877,550 in his career including $1,197,275 since 2006.
John McCain (R-Ariz.) — $2,870,491 in his career including a whopping $2,622,764 since 2006.
This election cycle Republicans have taken 88 percent of the over $20 million in federal campaign contributions from oil and gas companies as the industry has spent over $146,000,000 on lobbying last year, according to Think Progress.
Hours before the vote, President Obama urged Congress to pass the bill that would have targeted more than $2 billion in annual tax subsidies to the so-called Big Five oil companies.
From The Washington Post:
“With record profits and rising production, I’m not worried about the big oil companies,” Obama said. “I think it’s time they got by without more help from taxpayers who are having a tough enough time paying their bills and filling up their tanks.”
“And,” he added, “I think it’s curious that some of the folks in Congress who are the first to belittle investments in new sources of energy are the ones fighting the hardest to keep these giveaways for big oil companies.”
The Big Five — BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Shell — combined to make a record-high $137 billion in profits in 2011— up 75 percent from 2010 — and have made more than $1trillion in profits from 2001 through 2011.
A Congressional Research Service report released in May 2011 found that the repeal of the five oil industry tax breaks would lead to little or no increase of gasoline prices.
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