Three weeks ago, the Senate rejected a proposal to eliminate about $35 billion in tax subsidies to oil companies as millions of gallons of oil spewed into the Gulf of Mexico. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) proposed using these funds to reduce the deficit and fund state energy efficiency programs. The Sanders plan to close these loopholes lost by a vote of 35-61, with every Republican voting against it.
The vote to preserve outdated subsidies that make rich oil companies richer while creating little benefit to the taxpayers who foot the bill was a victory for the oil industry and its lobbyists. They hailed the “vote to preserve a domestic manufacturing industry that is critical to our nation’s energy security and to the nascent economic recovery,” in the words of Charles T. Drevna, president of the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association.
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