Despite a majority of Senators voting to cut off tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies to Big Oil on Thursday – the corporate welfare spigot is still flowing as Democrats couldn’t get the 60 votes needed to stop a near-unified Republican filibuster. Only two Republicans defied the oil industry and voted to cut off the subsidies – Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe.
Meanwhile – four Democrats sided with Big Oil, including Senators Ben Nelson, Mary Landrieu, Mark Begich, and Jim Webb. So how were the oil barons able to keep their welfare despite overwhelming public opposition to the subsidies? The answer is…$23 million. The 47 Senators who voted for big oil collected more than $23 million in campaign contributions from big oil and gas companies. That’s more than four times the amount of contributions that the 51 Senators who voted against big oil collected.
We saw this same same thing with Wall Street reform – as banksters contributed four-times more money to Senators opposing tough regulations on the banks than to Senators supporting regulations. That’s what the "best government money can buy" looks like.