Senate Republicans cast “suicide pact” vote for Big Oil that expands drilling while weakening oversight

It’s beginning to feel like a broken record – once again the GOP put its allegiances to Big Oil ahead of their responsibilities to the American people.  CAPAF’s Kiley Kroh has the story.

Yesterday 45 of 47 Senate Republicans filibustered an attempt to end the outrageous handouts to Big Oil – a plan Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) claimed was “not a serious effort to address the price of gas at the pump.”

Today, McConnell and his colleagues presented their big oil agenda: a reckless expansion of offshore drilling that will leave oversight even weaker than it was before the Gulf oil disaster and have absolutely no effect on the price of gas at the pump.

McConnell’s bill, which failed by a vote of 42 to 57, largely mirrored the trio of egregious drilling bills that passed the House earlier this month, and would disregard the crucial recommendations of the National Commission on the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling.

Instead, it would force the Administration to offer lease sales canceled in the wake of the BP Gulf oil disaster – including lease sales in the Arctic Ocean – while simultaneously reducing oversight. Michael Bromwich, the director of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, the agency tasked with permitting and oversight, called the House measures “a suicide pact.”

Republican efforts to tout the measure as an answer to rising gas prices are completely false and misleading. Affirming his support for the bill, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) asserted:

Our focus must be on lowering gas prices and creating economic growth and jobs in America “¦ The way to do that is to develop more domestic energy.

As has been proven in several studies, expanding offshore drilling will have no effect on gas prices.

Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) broke ranks with his party and expressed his objection to the bill – but not because it is an irresponsible giveaway of public resources. Vitter was “deeply disappointed” in the legislation because its expansion of offshore drilling isn’t dramatic enough. Republicans joining Vitter against the bill were Sens. Jim DeMint (SC), Mike Lee (UT), Richard Shelby (AL), and Olympia Snowe (ME). Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), another Republican senator with deep ties to the oil industry, said that if she had to use one word to describe the bill it would be “modest.”

Though McConnell’s bill will not advance in the Senate, the 42 Republican votes in favor of the measure highlight the Grand Oil Party’s blind subservience to the oil industry, regardless of the implications for American people. Frances Beinecke, a member of the National Oil Spill Commission, stated “the oil industry’s influence on the political process is holding America hostage.” It’s clear the partnership between Congressional Republicans and Big Oil continues to be hugely beneficial to both sides. The only ones suffering in this equation are the American people.

Kiley Kroh, CAPAF’s Associate Director for Ocean Communications, in a Wonk Room cross-post.

7 Responses to Senate Republicans cast “suicide pact” vote for Big Oil that expands drilling while weakening oversight

  1. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    It’s pretty plain that there is no hope of getting any decent policy through your political process. It has become totally corrupted by the money power of Big Business, and the situation is hopeless. So you must go around politics. I think it is obvious that boycotts and deliberate reduction of personal consumption are possibilities worth investigating. If enough people cut enough of their use of resources not only will less pollution be produced but the business claque who are destroying the planet will be hit in the only place that counts-their pockets.

  2. Solar Jim says:

    RE: Frances Beinecke, a member of the National Oil Spill Commission, stated “the oil industry’s influence on the political process is holding America hostage.”

    My correction of her analysis would be “the oil industry’s ownership of the political process is holding America hostage.”

    I say make all use of money in political campaigns and lobbying illegal. Otherwise America is a lost corporate plutocracy, which is characterized by injustice, unfairness and a contaminated economy in so many ways.

  3. Alex 77 says:

    Mulga – I agree that our political process is irredeemably compromised, but I wouldn’t even hold out hope that a (unlikely) consumption reduction would keep the oil from being extracted and burned. It would simply be exported and burned in developing countries. The US has had some success in shutting down coal fired power plants in the last few years, however the rate of coal
    extraction and burning increases steadily apace due to this coal being shipped to China/India.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I must get back to my preparations for the rapture this weekend. It’s gonna be great!

  4. Richard L says:

    How about the national debt? Even if it wouldn’t lower gas prices, it still would help reduce the debt!!! Hopefully, Dems will focus on that angle.

    I am sure CP readers know this – I am mostly just venting some frustration here.

  5. Bill W says:

    I don’t think anybody ever claimed that removing the tax loopholes for oil companies would lower gas prices, so McConnell is just throwing out a red herring.

  6. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Alex 77, you have a point, but something is better than nothing. Actually it might even be more dire, if the oiligarchs can find a country even less efficient in energy use than the US. Gadszooks-China! Oh well. As for ‘raptures’-they’re over-rated. I’ve been on a few, and the company is abysmal. Heaven for the weather and Hell for the conversation!

  7. Dana says:

    This is a great issue for Democrats to keep hammering. Republicans claim they care about the deficit above all else. They’ll cut funding to science, schools, destroy Medicare, etc. etc., but they won’t cut superfluous subsidies to ultra-profitable oil companies. The vast majority of Americans are on the Dems’ side on this one. They shoud keep hammering it all the way to 2012.