House Republicans voted in lockstep this afternoon to protect corporate welfare for Big Oil, even as they call for draconian cuts to programs that everyday Americans depend on each day. As the House of Representatives moved toward approving a stopgap resolution to avert a government shutdown for another two weeks, Democrats offered a motion to recommit that would have stripped the five largest oil companies of taxpayer subsidies, saving tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer funds. The motion failed on a vote of 176-249, with all Republicans voting against (approximately a dozen Democrats joined the GOP).From Thomas.gov, here's the description of what happened:
3/1/2011 3:34pm:And that's what was voted down. The amendment was to prohibit tax benefits for Big Oil. The Oil Companies, by the way, are doing just fine. Take a look at ExxonMobil. From Climateprogress:
DEBATE - The House proceeded with ten minutes of debate on the Keating motion to recommit with instructions. The instructions contained in the motion seek to require the Committee on Appropriations to report the bill back to the House forthwith with an amendment which inserts a section prohibiting the use of funds to be used for tax benefit or relief for any major integrated oil company.
The hearing also focused on the billions of dollars in subsidies granted to profitable oil companies each year. Despite $19 billion in profits in 2009, ExxonMobil escaped the U.S. tax man entirely, finishing the year without paying a single red cent in American corporate income taxes. Unrest in the Middle East is pushing profits for big oil even higher as prices climb up to the $100 per barrel threshold. Subsidies for such a profitable industry make little sense. As Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) lamented, “subsidizing oil companies to drill for oil is like subsidizing a bird to fly or a fish to swim.” Markey also lambasted the oil industry’s claims about its job creation He highlighted that during the past five years, the top five American oil companies fired 10,200 American workers but walked away with $485 billion in profits. [Italics in original]The link back to Thinkprogress quotes this piece from Forbes.com that originally said:
No wonder that of $15 billion in income taxes last year, Exxon paid none of it to Uncle Sam, and has tens of billions in earnings permanently reinvested overseas.Though ThinkProgress updates:
Forbes has updated its article to include a statement from Exxon: "Though Exxon's financial statement's don't show any net income tax liability owed to Uncle Sam, a company spokesman insists that once its final tax bill is figured, Exxon will owe a 'substantial 2009 tax liability.' How substantial? 'That's not something we're required to disclose, nor do we.'" [emphasis added]Trust us, they're saying. We pay tons of taxes but we just won't tell you how much. Trust us.
Anyway, back to the roll. Among those 13 Democrats crossed the aisle and voted with the GOP (in thinkprogress' words) "to protect corporate welfare for Big Oil" there was a very familiar name.
Congressman Jason Altmire, Democrat from Pennsylvania's 4th Congressional District.