Senate keeps oil company tax breaks

March 29, 2012 at 2:44 PM
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WASHINGTON, March 29 (UPI) -- The U.S. Senate ignored a last-minute push Thursday from President Obama and voted down a plan to repeal tax breaks for large oil companies.

The measure failed 51-47 in a vote that largely followed party lines, The Hill reported. Two Republicans, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine, voted for the bill, while four Democrats, Mark Begich of Alaska and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, both from major oil-producing states, and Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Jim Webb of Virginia opposed it.

Obama, in an appearance in the White House Rose Garden, said the tax breaks amount to subsidies at a time of high oil and gas prices.

"Today, members of Congress have a simple choice to make: They can stand with the big oil companies, or they can stand with the American people," the president said.

"Right now, the biggest oil companies are raking in record profits –- profits that go up every time folks pull up into a gas station. But on top of these record profits, oil companies are also getting billions a year -- billions a year in taxpayer subsidies -– a subsidy that they've enjoyed year after year for the last century."

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