The Senate on Thursday failed to advance a measure to repeal five tax incentives for the nation’s biggest oil and gas companies and use the money to extend alternative-energy and energy-efficiency tax credits.
The measure’s expected failure came just after President Obama implored senators to slash incentives that he argued subsidize major companies that don’t need them. Obama framed the vote as a choice between competing philosophies on where the nation should head with its energy policy, warning senators that “they can stand with big oil companies, or they can stand with the American people.”
“They can either vote to spend billions of dollars on oil subsidies that keep us trapped in the past, or they can vote to end these taxpayer subsidies that aren’t needed for oil production so that we can invest in the future,” Obama said from the White House Rose Garden.
The measure from Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., would bar BP, Chevron Corp., ConocoPhillips Co., ExxonMobil Corp. and Shell Oil Co. from claiming several incentives. The party-line 51-47 vote, short of the 60 needed to clear a procedural hurdle, gave both Democrats and Republicans further ammunition in the gasoline price debate, amid polls showing Americans spread the blame for pain at the pump.
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