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McCaskill Disappointed Senate Sided with Big Oil Over Deficit Reduction

Republicans unite to block legislation that would end tax breaks for oil companies, reduce deficit

May 17, 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Despite rising gas prices and concerns over our spiraling debt Senate Republicans opposed repealing unnecessary tax giveaways to Big Oil and paying down the deficit.

A proposal by U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill that would end certain tax breaks for the five largest oil and gas companies, currently reaping record profits, failed today on a near party line vote. Following the vote, McCaskill issued the following statement:

"There's a lot of talk about how to address our mounting national debt and high gas prices but when push came to shove, Republicans put Big Oil ahead of deficit reduction and people who are hurting," said McCaskill. "People are talking about the need for drastic measures but Republicans were unwilling to stand up to Big Oil to make a little progress. How are we going to tackle the bigger problems if Republicans couldn't find the courage to cut handouts for the most profitable companies in the history of the world? Oil companies aren't struggling. Missouri families are. I don't know how we can continue to take people seriously who say they want to address our deficit and didn't vote for this bill," McCaskill said.

The legislation would have closed tax loopholes for the largest five oil companies. In the first three months of 2011 alone, these companies (Exxon Mobil, BP, Conoco Phillips, Shell, and Chevron) made $32.2 billion in profit, while Missourians paid near record prices at the pump. Meanwhile, oil companies are pocketing billions of dollars per year in giveaways from taxpayers, amounting to a total of more than $40 billion over the past decade.

Today, McCaskill also called for an investigation into reports that indicate that U.S. oil refiners are cutting back on U.S. gasoline stockpiles in order to artificially keep prices high and inflate their bottom line while Americans are struggling to keep up with soaring gas prices. She, along with several of her colleagues, sent a letter to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairman Jon Leibowitz calling for an investigation into any potential wrongdoing, as well as an assessment into the impact these actions may have on gasoline prices.

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