Last night, 48 Senators, including Sen. Roy Blunt, put Big Oil before the American people and helped defeat a bill that would have ended tax breaks for the five biggest oil companies.1
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,2 and have donated tens of millions of dollars directly to the political campaigns of current Senators, including $697,998 to Sen. Roy Blunt.3
Tell Sen. Roy Blunt: Stop putting oil company profits and campaign contributions ahead of the American people. Click here to automatically sign the petition.
In all, three Democrats joined all but two Senate Republicans to protect Big Oil tax breaks that even a former Shell CEO said weren't needed.4
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.5
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 — including the $697,998 to Sen. Roy Blunt.
Let's make sure that voting to protect oil company profits doesn't go unanswered by those of us who actually pay the price.
Thank you for taking action.
Elijah Zarlin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets
P.S. — Want to find out more about the Big Oil money going to our elected officials? Our friends at the Dirty Energy Money campaign have the scoop. Click here to see how much dirty energy money your Senators and other elected officials have taken.
1. "Senate GOP Votes Down Bill To End Big Oil Subsidies," Huffington Post, May 17, 2011
2. "Senators Opposing End of Oil Subsidies Received Five Times More in Big Oil Campaign Cash," Oil Change International, May 17, 2011
3. Dirty Energy Money campaign data
4. "Ex-Shell CEO Says Big Oil Can Live Without Subsidies ," National Journal, February 11, 2011
5. "Senate rejects bill to cut oil tax breaks," The Hill, May 17, 2011