In a stirring floor speech, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) called for support of Sen. Bob Menendez’s (D-NJ) bill to eliminate $24 billion in “immoral” subsidies for big oil companies, whose executives are pulling in tens of millions of dollars a year on rising gasoline prices. He noted that the total combined income of all the residents of Issaquena County, Mississippi is less than the annual salary of the CEO of ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, or Chevron. “A single oil company CEO makes more in one year than all the people in that county all together. They’re already contributing to his salary when they fill up at the gas tank,” he said. “Working people are struggling to fill up their tanks while oil executives are struggling to carry their big fat paychecks to the bank.”
The effort to cut the subsidies failed to defeat a Republican filibuster on a 51-47 vote. Four Democrats voted with Republicans; the two Maine Republcan senators voted to end the big oil tax breaks.