Despite Deficit, Senate Votes To Continue Oil Subsidies

Despite (or maybe because of) presidential backing, S. 940, a bill to end millions of dollars in subsidies paid to oil companies, was defeated today in the Senate.

The Democratic plan to strip major oil companies of about $20 billion in tax subsidies over the next 10 years and use the savings to pay down the deficit was defeated 52-48 in the vote.

“The nation’s outdated tax laws currently provide the oil and gas industry billions of dollars per year in these subsidies, even though oil and gas prices are high and the industry is reporting out-sized profits,” said the Obama administration in a policy statement released before the vote.

Republicans staunchly opposed the bill, as did Democrats from oil-producing states, including Sens. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Mark Begich of Alaska, opposed the bill, and Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska.

According to, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said the Democratic bill would “raise the price of gasoline at the pump, export American jobs and make us more dependent on people like (Venezuelan President) Hugo Chavez because the amount of oil we’ll have to import will go up.”

The truth, of course, is that subsidies have done nothing but line oil executives’ pockets and artificially supress fuel prices for decades. In this way, oil companies have managed to back the American people into a corner:
“Give us our subsidies or we’ll make it painful to drive that SUV!” Besides, the amount oil companies would “lose” if subsidies went away pales in comparison to their profits (see top image).

Why do we feel we’re entitled to cheap fuel? Other industrial nations have been dealing with the true, astronomial price of gas for years, and as a result, they have robust public transportation systems, and smaller, more fuel-efficient cars.

A White House statement called Tuesday’s vote “disappointing” and said efforts to end the subsidies would continue.

“The bottom line is that there are more responsible ways to spend tens of billions of federal dollars, including investments that will help protect American consumers from high gas prices,” said the statement by White House Press Secretary Jay Carney. “The vote today — with support from over half the U.S. Senate — is an important step towards repealing these unwarranted subsidies for the oil and gas industry.”

Related Reading:

Oil Prices Are Falling: Will Gas Prices Follow Suit?

Obama Bows To GOP Demands, Expands Domestic Oil And Gas Drilling

Boehner: Oil Should Pay Fair Share But Not Pay Taxes or Lose Subsidies

Image Credit: Flickr - Leader Nancy Pelosi


W. C
W. C1 years ago


William C
William C2 years ago

Thank you.

Xil L.
Xil L7 years ago

Time for the money to change pockets! How many (and who) really benefit from this industry and the weapons industry, would be interesting to see some figures and faces and see just how important these two industies really are when it comes to work opportunies and income source compared to other ethical industries and to get an idea just what percentage of the population is really making a living in these fields. How can those risking jobb loss from a decreased productivity by these industries be relocated and educated to other less harmful sectors so that the employment exuse can no longer be used to protect the chairmen running this show? How can they be forced to convert their activities and factories into sustainable ones?

Cesar V.
Cesar Villanueva7 years ago

it's the same in Canada...oil companies should be tax to the max considering the destruction they cause to the planet...

Laura K.
Laura K8 years ago

Wow. Just wow. This is going to collapse around them, and they won't see it until in falls on their heads...

Robyn B.
Robyn B8 years ago

This really shows how corrupt the US government is. They're willing to take health care away from all of us, medicine away from senior citizens, and education away from children. Lobbying should be illegal in this country!

Michael Kirkby
.8 years ago

Energy like food is a commodity which the Investment/Speculatory priests on Wall Street and Bay Streets drive up and down to maximize profit. The god Mammon must be served by maximized profiteering. The entire government is bought and paid for by these jokers so don't expect affordable energy or food prices anytime soon. When King Profit tells them their god must be served you can bet it will be served at our expense of course.
When we get scalar energy instead of oil we won't have these parasites controlling every facet of our lives; nor will we have all the environmental concerns. Then of course it might be too late for most of us anyway. Who knows?

John Abeel
John Abeel8 years ago

I suppose that we should expect this result. After all, we have the best politicians that money can buy! Perhaps we should eliminate Congress and have the corporations write the bills directly, at least we could save money on salaries and unwarranted expenditures. Would you believe that these "representatives" have the gall to talk about the "corruption" in other governments.

Richard E Cooley
Richard E Cooley8 years ago


David C.
David Connally8 years ago

@Paul B re mining and mineral rights.

The whole system is screwed up. Like many states, Pennsylvania has a budget problem. It also has a rapidly growing natural gas industry. The Republican governor refuses to even consider imposing royalties on the producers. Guess who his biggest contributors were.

As long as we have a billions of dollars going into elections of legislators and judges, this sort of crap will continue. The "free speech" "unlimited anonymous political contributions" "corporations having the same ""free speech"" rights as individuals" have destroyed democracy in the US.

It's not clear to me why conservatives are so in favor of turning the country into an oligarchy but it is the inevitable result of current conservative thinking.