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A Record that Speaks for Itself: GOP Votes to Support Big Oil

As many continue to suffer from tough economic times and still too high rate of unemployment, American families and small businesses face additional hardship of record gas prices - averaging nearly $4.00 per gallon.  This is causing both pain at the pump, as well as rising costs for food and other basic household goods.

American taxpayers are also footing the bill for tens of billions in tax breaks for Big Oil, even as oil companies are raking in huge profits. The top five multi-national oil companies made over $900 billion in profits over the last decade - with another $36 billion in profits just this quarter. But Republicans want to keep handing taxpayer subsidies to Big Oil and pass 'Drill Only' bills that do nothing to ease the pain at the pump.

The American people are looking for real solutions to high gas prices, but this year alone, House Republicans have voted nine times against holding Big Oil accountable and providing relief to America's taxpayers and consumers.

  • May 24, 2011: Republicans voted against considering the Federal Price Gouging Prevention Act of 2011 (H.R. 964) which makes it unlawful, during a period proclaimed by the President as an energy emergency, to sell gasoline at a price that is unconscionably excessive or indicates the seller is taking unfair advantage of the circumstances of an emergency to increase prices unreasonably.
  • May 12, 2011:  Republicans rejected efforts to require Big Oil to sell oil produced on taxpayer-owned property to Americans first - to help bring down gas prices -- and call on oil companies to start pumping oil on the public land they already own, or another company will get the lease to drill.
  • May 11, 2011:  Republicans voted against saving taxpayers billions of dollars by fixing a flaw in 1998 and 1999 leases in the Gulf of Mexico that currently allows oil companies to drill without paying any royalties that could cost American taxpayers up to $53 billion over the next 25 years. 
  • May 5, 2011:  Republicans voted against saying that if oil is taken from land owned by the American taxpayer, then it should benefit American families for the leases in the drilling bill. 
  • May 5, 2011:  Republicans rejected an effort to consider legislation that prohibits the Big Five oil companies from receiving tax breaks for domestic manufacturing in the 2004 international tax law. 
  • April 15, 2011: House Republicans passed the GOP Budget which retains $40 billion in Big Oil tax loopholes and ends Medicare as we know it. The GOP Budget slashes investments in clean energy for an energy independent future by 70 percent - calling for drastic cuts in energy research and development, and the elimination of subsidies and tax benefits to spur wind, solar power and other alternative energy technologies, which they term “expensive handouts to uncompetitive sources of energy.”
  • March 9, 2011:  Republicans unanimously voted against bringing up the Federal Price Gouging Prevention Act that makes it illegal to sell gasoline at excessive prices and prevents Big Oil from taking advantage of consumers and engaging in price gouging.
  • March 1, 2011: House Republicans unanimously voted against rolling back taxpayer subsidies for Big Oil. Republicans voted against an amendment to prohibit large oil companies from receiving certain tax breaks, like the domestic manufacturing deduction in the 2004 international tax law.
  • February 19, 2011:  The Republican ‘So Be It' Spending Bill slashed investments in the Commodities Futures Trading Commission - the agency charged with policing the country's futures markets -- by one-third at a time when speculation on energy futures, including oil, is at an all-time high. The world's largest commodity trader, Goldman Sachs, recently told its clients that it believed speculators like itself had artificially driven the price of oil at least $20 higher than supply and demand dictate.  That bill also cut funding for clean renewable energy including investments in wind and solar energy and advanced vehicle technologies and cutting-edge research for breakthrough technologies to fuel tomorrow. 
  • February 18, 2011: 95% of House Republicans voted against closing Big Oil loopholes that cost taxpayers billions and making oil companies pay their fair share for drilling on public lands. To reduce the deficit, this amendment would have fixed a flaw in 1998 and 1999 leases in the Gulf of Mexico that allows oil companies to drill without paying any royalties that could cost American taxpayers up to $53 billion over the next 25 years.

While House Democrats passed multiple bills last Congress to create new clean energy jobs, increase domestic production, and lower our dependence on foreign oil, House Republicans voted against these bills and Senate Republicans blocked them from becoming law.  See the Republican record of supporting of the Bush Administration's 'drill-only' energy policy that led to record profits for Big Oil, even greater U.S. dependence on oil from the Middle East, and record energy costs for America's working families in the 111th Congress»

In total, over the past four years, Republicans have voted:

  • Four times against holding Big Oil accountable to explore and produce domestic energy on already leased lands, in a clean and safe manner.  [HR 3221, HR 6515, HR 6251, HR 6899]

It is time for Republicans to put partisan politics aside and join with Democrats to tackle high gas prices because, as Congressman Edward Markey, Ranking Member on the House Natural Resources Committee, wrote in USA Today, 'the return of $4-per-gallon gas is punishing Americans at the pump and threatening to derail our economic recovery.'