The Senate on Thursday thwarted Democratic plans to strip billions of dollars in tax breaks from the largest oil companies, just an hour or so after President Obama urged the chamber to kill off the deductions.
Lawmakers voted 51-47 to move forward with Sen. Robert Menendez’s (D-N.J.) bill. Sixty votes were needed to advance the measure.
Two Republicans — Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, both from Maine — crossed party lines and voted to repeal the tax breaks. Four Democrats — Sens. Mark Begich (Alaska), Mary Landrieu (La.), Ben Nelson (Neb.) and Jim Webb (Va.) — voted against the bill.
The outcome of the vote was not a surprise, given that a similar plan failed 52-48 last May. But the decision to take another shot at passing the bill— and the decision by the White House to wade into the fight — underscore the political salience of rising gasoline prices in an election year.
The senators bought and paid for by big oil made sure they get to eat from the government trough even though they collectively made billions in profits last year. Good ol Mitch the Turtle complained that the oil companies would immediately turn around and punish consumers if they lost their fat government subsidies, so it was in fact Republicans who were protecting you from higher gas prices.
No, stop laughing.
The free market is necessary. Except when the government is paying corporate donors.