EcoWatch) is pretty descriptive of what went on in the U.S. Senate this last week. The Big Oil companies have to be celebrating, because the gusher of taxpayer money they have been enjoying for years will not be cut off. And the many millions of dollars they have put in Republican campaign coffers has paid off a thousandfold.
Senator Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey) had introduced a bill in the U.S. Senate to cut off $24 billion in tax subsidies to the biggest oil companies. These companies are enjoying record profits, and don't need the subsidies (which allow them to avoid paying billions of dollars in taxes on those record profits). It only makes sense, especially in this terrible economy, that those companies and individuals who are making the most money should at least pay their fair share of taxes.
But the oil companies don't see it that way -- and neither do the GOP senators they have purchased. Both the Big Oil companies and the Republican senators think taxes are something to be paid by the working and middle classes -- not corporations and the moguls who run them.
The bill by Menendez needed 60 votes in the Senate to be brought up for a vote -- a vote that almost surely would have eliminated the subsidies for Big Oil and forced them to pay their taxes. But 43 Republicans (and four Democrats) made sure that wouldn't happen. The Republican filibuster was not ended by a 51 to 47 vote in the Senate. To be fair, two Republicans did vote to end the GOP filibuster (Maine's two senators -- Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins). The four blue dog Dems who voted with the Republicans were Mary Landrieu (Louisiana), Ben Nelson (Nebraska), Mark Begich (Arkansas), and Jim Webb (Virginia).
Why would these senators vote to keep giving the Big Oil companies $24 billion in tax subsidies, when they so obviously don't need them due to their record (and still growing) profits? Well, a big clue can be found in what these senators have received from the oil companies. The 47 senators who voted against ending the subsidies have received a total of $24,057,254 ($22,899,852 for the GOP senators and $1,157,402 for the four Democrats). That's an average of $511,856 per senator.
That $24 million was money well spent by Big Oil. They get to keep 1000 times that amount in subsidies to fatten their already bulging bank accounts.