Effort to Close Tax Breaks for Big Oil Fails in US Senate

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Statement by Deirdre Cummings, Legislative Director for MASSPIRG


In an important vote in the US Senate on May 17, Massachusetts’ junior Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) cast his vote against Massachusetts consumers and taxpayers when he voted “no” on S.B. 940, known as the Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act, which would have ended tax breaks for the top five most profitable oil companies. Under the proposal, those companies (BP, Exxon Mobil, Shell, Chevron and Conoco Phillips) would have had existing tax breaks scaled back, resulting in a savings of $21 billion over ten years.

Sixty votes were needed to move forward procedurally with the bill. The final vote was 52-48, eight votes short, bringing consideration of the bill to an end. Roll Call

Senator John Kerry (D-MA) should be commended for his vote in favor of closing the tax loopholes, a significant step toward reducing the deficit and stopping special interest giveaways through our tax code.

Earlier this year, when President Obama announced the bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, MASSPIRG’s national office, U.S. PIRG, issued two reports which include a list of policy recommendations – called The First Trillion and The Next Trillion – to save American taxpayers over 2 trillion dollars by cutting carve-outs and giveaways to corporate special interests and preventing fraud, waste, and abuse.

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