In 51-47 Vote, Senate Republicans Protect Big Oil Subsidies As Gasoline Profits Soar | By a nearly party-line vote of 51-47, the U.S. Senate failed to get the 60 votes needed to eliminate $24 billion in taxpayer subsidies for the five richest oil companies. The Republicans filibustered legislation by Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) which would have cut the subsidies to pay for investment in wind power and energy efficiency. Democrats who joined the Republicans included Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Ben Nelson (D-NE), Mark Begich (D-AK), and Jim Webb (D-VA). Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and retiring Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) broke ranks and voted to cut the tax breaks.