Right now, the Senate is voting on a Democratic bill to stop wasting billions of dollars on subsidies for wildly profitable oil companies. Unfortunately, but not too surprisingly, it’s not expected to pass. Tea Party people, do you get it? These Republicans don’t give a damn about the budget and they don’t give a damn about you. They are willing to blow a huge hole in that budget just to help oil guys. All they want to do is deliverer those big, fat payoffs to their donors.
But on the upside, Republicans are now on the record. They just voted to give away billions of your money to big oil again. Now, by our account, only two Republicans voted to end the subsidies. They are both from Maine, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe. The rest, by voting against this bill today, just agreed to give $21 billion to the biggest oil companies, not just in the country but in the world. And by the way, they are also the most profitable companies in the world. Independents, do you see what’s going on here?
The Republicans don’t give a damn about the free market. They are perfectly happy to give huge companies even bigger advantages by skewing the tax code in their favor. They also don’t give a damn about what real Americans actually think. 74% of Americans support ending these insane oil subsidies. You think the Republicans are going to listen to them? Of course not. They are going to listen to their donors, the oil companies who paid them to be their representatives.
Joining me now to talk about this very issue is Rhode Island Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, who sits on the Senate Budget Committee. Thank you for joining us and our petition on twitter, the young turks petition, Senator Whitehouse, Senator Gillibrand, Senator Menendez all joined. Thank you for that.
Thank you for what he have done to galvanize the American people on this. It is important if they haven’t been heard yet, they can go to endbigoilsubsidies.com and let their voices be added to the tens of thousands who have spoken out about these big oil subsidies.
This bill, we just got the word, failed 52-48 so big oil will get to keep their subsidies subsidies.
52-48, we had the 52. It actually — in the ordinary world, won 5-48 consistent with what the American people want but because the Republicans demanded a filibuster-proof vote of 60, they were able to stymie the vote and protect the big oil subsidies.
Now that’s a great point and it should not be understated. The Republicans aren’t just voting against getting rid of these oil subsidies, they are filibustering this bill to make sure under no circumstances do the oil companies pay their fair share.
Yes, a straightup vote, we won.
That’s right and so let’s talk about how we can actually get it done, since they just filibustered it, right? Is it possible the Democrats come into the negotiations on when you talk about balancing the budget and cutting spending and saying, look, we are not going to cut a dime until you cut here, otherwise, no deal?
Look it is really important that we not walk away from this fight. This is the first inning. As I said, the American people are going to continue to make their voice be heard. It is ridiculous, while the Republicans are looking at getting rid of medicare ten years from now, at wiping out planned parenthood, at cutting back savagely on head start programs and saying that the reason they have to do all of this is because the most important issue is our debt and deficit, but it’s not as important as protecting big oil and the totally unnecessary subsidies that they get from the American taxpayer. That’s an argument that we need to continue to have. It resonates in Rhode Island, people in Rhode Island are absolutely fed up with getting clobbered at the pump and we are going to continue to bring this up over and over again.
Senator Schumer said something similar, I want to play that video for you and get your reaction.
Our plan to cut the deficit begins with ending wasteful subsidies to big oil. The Republican plan, as embodied the Ryan amendment, which almost every Republican in the House voted for, begins with ending medicare as we know it. That’s a bright line difference between our side and theirs.
So Senator Whitehouse, given what you said and what Senator Schumer just said, a clear point, will you guys be running ads against the Republicans on this just to pressure them so we can actually get that $21 billion back for the American people?
I’m not in the ad running business, but I’m going to speak out on this every chance I get. And I’m going to continue to force votes on this over and over again. Do you remember when they tried to filibuster Wall Street reform? They won on the first vote, they won on the second vote, they won on the third vote but when it became clear that there was going to be a fourth vote and a fifth after that and a sixth and a seventh, as many as it took, they collapsed under public pressure. And I think we need to keep bringing that public pressure.
Do you remember Joshua going around the walls of Jericho? The walls of Jericho did not come down the first time Joshua went around that city.
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, thank you very much. Cenk, thank you.