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Obama: End tax breaks for big oil

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama's plea to Congress to end $4 billion in tax subsidies to oil companies was rebuffed Thursday as the Senate turned back a Democratic bill to repeal the tax breaks.

Moments after Obama made his election-year appeal in the White House Rose Garden, the Senate failed to get the necessary two-thirds vote to proceed to a measure that would have ended the subsidies. Obama had argued that Americans are getting hit twice -- once at the gas pump, and once more by sending billions of dollars in tax subsidies to oil companies.

"I think it's time they got by without more help from taxpayers who are already having a tough enough time paying the bills and filling up their gas tank," the president said. "And I think it's curious that some folks in Congress, who are the first to belittle investments in new sources of energy, are the ones that are fighting the hardest to maintain these giveaways for the oil companies."

The Senate vote was 51-47, short of the 60 votes necessary. Two Republicans voted to proceed to the legislation -- Maine Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe. But four Democrats rejected the effort -- Sens. Jim Webb of Virginia, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Mark Begich of Alaska.

Prior to the vote, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell challenged Obama and Democratic leaders.

"Is this the best we have to offer folks who are staring at $4 a gallon gasoline? A bill that even Democrats admit won't do anything to lower the price of gas?" the Kentucky lawmaker asked.

Obama said oil companies are pulling in record profits and shouldn't get taxpayer help when that money could be used on alternative energy. Obama, up for re-election, has sought to align himself with people frustrated by high gas prices.

Many congressional Republicans said cutting the tax breaks would lead to higher fuel prices, raising costs on oil companies and affecting their spending on exploration. Obama couldn't end the subsidies when Democrats controlled Congress earlier in his term.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama would continue pressing for repeal of the subsidies.

"That was an unfortunate vote," he said of Thursday's Senate action. Obama "won't stop calling for this, it makes zero sense to have the American taxpayer subsidize oil and gas companies who are enjoying record profits."

Obama spoke before a crowd in the Rose Garden that included representatives from energy, business and environmental groups, as well as people who wrote on social media sites about how rising gas costs affected their finances.

Comments

jjbod1 2 years ago

Yea , what a great freaking idea!!! You think gas is high now, go ahead and pull that crap on the oil company's and we will have $8 gas before you know it. I can not wait till Nov.

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johansec 2 years ago

The oil companies are making more profits than they ever have been in history. I can't wait until November either when Obama gets re-elected and we can put this carnival of a GOP election away for a while.

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gwinnettresident1 2 years ago

Then maybe you will get your gas stamp ebt card....LMAO

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jack 2 years ago

The federal government makes more from the sale of a gallon of gas than the oil company that did all the work. But then, you obviously prefer big government over a free society.

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FordGalaxy 2 years ago

Exxon, you know, one of those evil oil companies, makes about 8 cents per gallon of gas sold. The federal government makes about 55 cents per gallon sold and the state government makes about 30 cents per gallon sold. But yeah, oil companies are the ones ruining everything. Keep on believing that.

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gwinnettresident1 2 years ago

Obama is such an idiot....When the price gets so high it pays to stay home hope you Obama supporters....(sorry) you already stay home. You collect food stamps, welfare, and i can just imagine that Obama will have gas stamps for you also...Never mind Democrats dont like to work...They like for the working people to share the wealth.....

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cyclist 2 years ago

I do not understand the idea that not giving away money to corporations is "liberal." Are people afraid of the oil companies? If gas gets to expensive exercise your power as a consumer and don't buy it.

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kevin 2 years ago

why doesn't Obama have the guts to strip the tax breaks from the IRS code system? Why no guts to go to a flat tax or a consumption tax? He talks so much about hitting the rich, but never has the guts to get rid of the IRS code as it is. The IRS has been allowed to grow into a monster.

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kevin 2 years ago

Even the Senate Democrats didn't like this bill. I wonder why? They all get large contributions from the oil companies.

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kevin 2 years ago

we are being governed by a dictator if you are too blind to see.

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gwinnettisgreat1 2 years ago

You folks need to get some more altitude to get the big picture.

If Prezbo can run the cost of gasoline up and also kill the coal market, he believes that he will direct this country into being more dependent on government. He hides behind the "alternative fuel" line, when he knows alternatives cost more than coal and oil.

Also smarties, if the oil companies don't get tax breaks, who do you think they pass the cost onto? Prezbo? Washington? No, that cost gets passed along to you and I.

I will not hit on what many have pointed out above as to how much the fed makes on gas tax. One day... many years from now, so many will look back and be like, wow, I can't believe I voted for that guy. I just could not see past the big picture, I was too locked in on the "evil rich" and "everyone pay their fair share". I should have known something was up when the "man" started questioning the Supreme Court about the Constitution and rule of law that something was up.

Idiots.

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