U.S. Senate Votes to Continue Oil Subsidies


Led by Republicans, the US Senate decided to continue over $20 billion in taxpayer subsidies to major oil companies Thursday.

New Jersey Democrat Robert Menendez proposed the bill to stop the billions in subsidies that go to oil corporations. The outcome was 51-47, falling mainly in line with party affiliations. Though a slight majority of the votes were in favor of ending the subsidies, the Senate did not obtain the necessary 60 votes to avoid a filibuster.

Shortly before the vote, President Barack Obama delivered a speech urging Congress to end subsidies to the largest oil companies. In the past year, the five biggest oil corporations – Chevron, Conoco, BP, Shell and Exxon Mobil — earned what Obama called “record profits”: a total of $140 billion.

“American oil is booming, the oil industry is doing just fine,” Obama said in his speech. “That’s why I think it’s time they got by without help from taxpayers who already have a tough enough time paying the bills and filling up their gas tanks. I think it’s curious that some folks in Congress, who are the first to belittle investments in new sources of energy, are those who are fighting the hardest to maintain these giveaways for the oil companies.”

Democrats had suggested moving the money allotted to oil subsidies toward additional tax credits for environmentally friendly actions like electric cars and solar energy, as well as paying off part of the national deficit.

On the other hand, Republicans expressed a reluctance to burden oil companies financially at a time when gas prices are on the rise. Ultimately, however, both sides seemed to concede that the subsidies should not have an effect on gas prices.

Noting that Republican senators has voted overwhelmingly in favor of oil company interests in recent months, Think Progress performed an analysis to determine whether campaign contributions from oil companies had any correlation with those who voted against the subsidies ban. They found that the 47 senators who voted against the bill (thus to keep the subsidies) have received $23,582,500 in oil contributions, while those who voted for the bill (and thus against subsidies) had received $5,873,600 in gas company contributions. That discrepancy appears to be telling.

For a more specific breakdown of how each senator voted and how much money in campaign contributions he or she has received from oil companies throughout his or her career, check out Think Progress’s chart.


Related Stories:

Despite Deficit, Senate Votes To Continue Oil Subsidies

President Obama Calls On Congress to End Oil Subsidies

Oil Lobby Says Obama’s Call To End Big Oil Handouts Is ‘Discriminatory


Photo Credit: Flcelloguy

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Mary Hebblewhite

This is a no brainer. Let's definitely subsidize solar and wind and mass rapid transit. Not oil or coal or big agriculture...Is there logic in the oil subsidies at this point''...

Vicky Pitchford
Vicky P.3 years ago

of course they did -.-

Michael W.
Michael W.3 years ago

With billions in profits there is ABSOLUTELY no need for subsidies.....

Dan B.
Dan Brook3 years ago

disgusting and shameful

Grace Adams
Grace Adams3 years ago

I would much rather subsidize fossil fuel firms to diversify into sustainable energy sources than subsidize them to remain fossil fuel firms.

Martha Eberle
Martha Eberle3 years ago

Each "aye" is a contribution from an oil company to his/her re-election campaign. Could it be clearer?! Shameful.

Heidi Awes
Heidi Aubrey3 years ago

In light of this, its perplexing how any average living American could vote Republican.

David L.
David L.3 years ago

CONSIDERING most of those senators voting FOR such propositions either will have shares in oil companies - or likely will have next week, when they receive their next paybacks from the oil bosses ~ this is just another way they have found of doubling up on their tax returns for their oil stocks...

And all the while, screwing the average citizens and taxpayers over-and-over again..

Andy O.
Past Member 3 years ago

Just lovely. I'm sure all of the homeless and poverty-stricken Americans willl be just tickled pink over this news, when that money could be used to feed them.

Christina Robertson
Tina Robertson3 years ago

Oil Companies need to be subsidized? They probably need the money to buy off all the politicians, judges, media and make all those wonderful commercials that we see on TV.