Tell the Senators from Big Oil: Stop putting Big Oil subsidies ahead of the American people.
On Tuesday night, 48 Senators, including three Democrats and all but two Republicans, put Big Oil before the American people and helped defeat a bill that would have ended tax breaks for the five biggest oil companies.
How could anyone vote against a bill that would have kept $21 billion of American taxpayers' money out of the pockets of cash-rich oil companies?
One big reason is oil money in our political process. A lot of it. Oil and gas companies spent $39.5 million lobbying congress in just the first quarter of this year, and have donated nearly $18 million to the 48 Senators who voted to protect oil subsidies.1
But make no mistake. Even though we didn't get the 60 votes required for passage, our pressure to end oil subsidies is already working. More and more legislators are acting defensive about their support of Big Oil over the American people.
In February, similar legislation to repeal some oil subsidies got only 44 votes. Yesterday, we got 52 votes. That comes after CREDO Action members sent more than 225,000 petitions to the Senate and made more than 1,000 calls yesterday to 11 key Senators, six of whom flipped their position and voted to end tax breaks to Big Oil.
Senate Majority leader Harry Reid said yesterday that despite this defeat, he will continue to push for ending oil subsides as part of negotiations on the budget and to raise the debt ceiling.2
We need to keep the pressure on. And one key to breaking Big Oil's grasp on our legislators is letting Congress know that we know about the millions of dollars that Big Oil has given them.
Let's make sure that our Senators' votes to protect oil company profits don't go unanswered by those of us who actually pay the price.
1. "Senators Opposing End of Oil Subsidies Received Five Times More in Big Oil Campaign Cash," Oil Change International, May 17, 2011
2. "Senate rejects bill to cut oil tax breaks," The Hill, May 17, 2011
Here are the 48 Senators who voted against ending Big Oil subsidies: Alexander (R-TN), Ayotte (R-NH), Barrasso (R-WY), Begich (D-AK), Blunt (R-MO), Boozman (R-AR), Brown (R-MA), Burr (R-NC), Chambliss (R-GA), Coats (R-IN), Coburn (R-OK), Cochran (R-MS), Corker (R-TN), Cornyn (R-TX), Crapo (R-ID), DeMint (R-SC), Enzi (R-WY), Graham (R-SC), Grassley (R-IA), Hatch (R-UT), Heller (R-NV), Hoeven (R-ND), Hutchison (R-TX), Inhofe (R-OK), Isakson (R-GA), Johanns (R-NE), Johnson (R-WI), Kirk (R-IL), Kyl (R-AZ), Landrieu (D-LA), Lee (R-UT), Lugar (R-IN), McCain (R-AZ), McConnell (R-KY), Moran (R-KS), Murkowski (R-AK), Nelson (D-NE), Paul (R-KY), Portman (R-OH), Risch (R-ID), Roberts (R-KS), Rubio (R-FL), Sessions (R-AL), Shelby (R-AL), Thune (R-SD), Toomey (R-PA), Vitter (R-LA), Wicker (R-MS)