Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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March 2, 2011

A BOLD STAND IN SUPPORT OF SUBSIDIES FOR BIG OIL.... Before the House approved a measure to keep the government open until March 18, Democrats took full advantage of their motion-to-recommit power. Indeed, they're getting better at this.

Two weeks ago, before a vote to extend the Patriot Act, Dems used this maneuver to get nearly every Republican in the House to vote against a measure that said, "When investigating American citizens, the government must comply with the Constitution."

Yesterday, it was another motion that may very well end up in some 2012 campaign ads.

Democrats are committed to fiscal responsibility and to ensuring that government lives within its means. With Big Oil raking in record profits, House Democrats offered a Motion to Recommit to the House Republican short-term spending bill this afternoon making a responsible cut to the budget: putting an end to taxpayer-funded subsidies to large oil companies. [...]

Rep. William Keating (D-MA) offered the motion on the House floor saying "let's stop sending taxpayers' money to the most profitable companies in the world."

Republicans voted unanimously against the motion, defeating it by a vote of 176-249.

Here's the roll call on the vote. A total of 236 Republicans voted, and all of them opposed the effort to end public subsidies for oil companies.

For the typical American, I suspect this will seem hard to understand. In the face of fiscal challenges, Republicans are ready to slash funding in education, health care, job training, and national security, but they're not willing to end taxpayer subsidies -- our money -- for the oil industry? An industry that's already enjoying extraordinary profits?

Also note, ending the subsidies would save the federal government tens of billions of dollars, making a significant dent in the deficit-reduction campaign that Republicans pretend to care about. It's a reminder that the GOP's commitment to fiscal responsibility is shaped in large part by who'll suffer as a result of the cuts -- working families can feel the brunt of the budget ax, under the GOP vision, but ExxonMobil can't.

Every time Americans go to the pump -- which is becoming more painful all the time -- Democrats want consumers to remember, "You're not only paying higher prices for gas, your tax dollars, thanks to Republicans, are also subsidizing the oil companies themselves."

Just a few weeks ago, former Shell Oil CEO John Hofmeister acknowledged reality, conceding that his industry doesn't need the government subsidies. Regrettably, congressional Republicans disagree.

Steve Benen 8:35 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (17)

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Comments

Oil is what makes the American way of life possible. If we didn't have oil we'd be like Saudi Arabia or Libya.

Posted by: Al on March 2, 2011 at 8:41 AM | PERMALINK

CEO's, large corporations, and big Oil are on the "Can't Touch List!"

Poor and middle class families are on the "Hit 'Em Hard List!"

But that's ok, by 2012, there'll be more unemployed people, and the people will be even angrier, they'll have forgotten all of this, and vote for the 'fiscally conservative' Republican.

If the Democrats can't hang this around the Republicans necks, then they are truly clueless.

But then again, American has become a black hole for logic and reason.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on March 2, 2011 at 8:42 AM | PERMALINK

Wow. Who did the Congressional Democratic "leadership" subcontract with to create a political strategy with a spine? The Republicans? The Chinese?

Posted by: SteveT on March 2, 2011 at 8:47 AM | PERMALINK

"For the typical American, I suspect this will seem hard to understand. In the face of fiscal challenges, Republicans are ready to slash funding in education, health care, job training, and national security, but they're not willing to end taxpayer subsidies -- our money -- for the oil industry? An industry that's already enjoying extraordinary profits?"

A very conservative woman I know once told me she's not worried about the energy crisis because the big oil companies will know what to do, "they'll take care of us." I think that's the thinking of many "typical Americans." You know, it's "typical Americans" who vote Republicans into power time and again.

Last night on Laurence O'Donnell's show, a Republican State Senator from Wisconsin, smugly refered to the protesters as "slobs." That's what Republicans think of "typical Americans," that's what they say right out loud, and yet they still win elections.

I'll never understand it, but I highly doubt "typical americans" will be bothered by the GOP's support for handouts to big oil.

Posted by: SaintZak on March 2, 2011 at 8:47 AM | PERMALINK

Okay, but to be fair, the 'motion-to-recommit' is a bit of an insider's game. If there's a bill the majority wants to pass, and they know they have the votes, they will almost always vote down all motions to recommit, because if the motion prevails, then it delays the vote on the bill.

So the minority to could submit a MTR full of God, Mom and apple pie, and the majority would likely vote it down, whether Democrats or Republicans are in the majority. It might make for good campaign ads, but it doesn't really mean anything.

Posted by: David Bailey on March 2, 2011 at 8:49 AM | PERMALINK

it'd be nice if they'd require oil companies to post how much of a gov't subsidy they receive on pumps at the station...as a percentage of what we pay

Posted by: uh_oh on March 2, 2011 at 8:51 AM | PERMALINK

They do seem to be getting better at the game. For all my dissapointment in Pelosi when she was in charge, she seems better, and scrappier, in the minority.

Posted by: bignose on March 2, 2011 at 9:00 AM | PERMALINK

If memory serves me right, these are simply direct subsidies to oil companies, and don't include indirect ones like letting oil companies loot the American commonwealth by paying below market value for Federal oil leases.

Posted by: Gregory on March 2, 2011 at 9:02 AM | PERMALINK

Cut aid to underweight babies, help big oil.

Beautiful.

Posted by: Ben Dover on March 2, 2011 at 9:14 AM | PERMALINK

Well I for one am certainly glad this story will be all over the MSM.

Posted by: John R on March 2, 2011 at 9:19 AM | PERMALINK

Unabashed, shameless tinkle down economic fantasy, while America spirals downward into a two class nightmare!

Scorecard on the field of upward-bound wealth:

Rich to Uber Rich The Rest of U.S.

Tax Cuts higher cost of living
lower wages

Tax Cuts unemployment

Tax Cuts medical induced
bankruptcy

Tax Cuts cash only please

2012 may not see the death of our planet, but if Americans don't get off their arses and vote against the Republican brand it may very well be the end of sanity for us liberty-minded citizens! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on March 2, 2011 at 9:30 AM | PERMALINK

Will this even make the nightly news? I doubt it! Since our so called "liberal media" is nothing but a corporation or whores to corporate America this would not even be a side bar for them. That is part of the problem why so many Americans think that the dems haven't done anything. To much of the stuff they are able to do is NEVER mentioned by MSM. On the Today show most morning the only people they talk to are the dang Repukes. Look at the Sunday shows how often do they have dems on in comparation to the Repukes. Money to big oil GOOD. Head Start, Education, or ANYTHING that benefits the middle class or the working poor that has to be cut by God. To the Repukes the middle class, the poor, Public Employees are nothing but leeches. And the problem to many of these people vote against their own best interests when they vote Repuke and don't even have the good sence to know that they are being raped!!!!

Posted by: nodak on March 2, 2011 at 9:38 AM | PERMALINK

Democrats took full advantage of their motion-to-recommit power. Indeed, they're getting better at this.


Great! And did they also buy a cable news network to push this shit 24/7?

No?

Then it doesn't matter.

:(

Posted by: AndThenThere'sThat on March 2, 2011 at 9:50 AM | PERMALINK

It's been said well many times here: Unless and until the Democrats engage in the propaganda war being waged so successfully by the Rethugs and echoed so obediently by the corporate MSM what they do in Congress or in the administration won't matter much. There's no point in staging a losing battle on the floor of the House unless you're going to milk it for its PR value. Are the Dim-Dumocrats really clueless, or is it deliberate? I wish I knew.

Posted by: rrk1 on March 2, 2011 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

Steve Benen wrote: "For the typical American, I suspect this will seem hard to understand."

The "typical American" won't even know about it.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on March 2, 2011 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

"...but it doesn't really mean anything." David Bailey @ 8:49 AM.
It means that the Republican/Teabaggers have demonstrated, yet again, that they don't care about the deficit. If they did they would have jumped on the chance to cut billions from the deficit, especially as it wouldn't harm the oil companies. It means that, once again, the Republican/Teabaggers have shown who their real "base" is - corporations. It also means that, when gasoline nears $5 a gallon in October of 2012, the Democrats will have a ready-made ad to run against any Republican/Teabagger. Expecially in those districts where Republican/Teabaggers won by margins of 5 per cent or less. That will undoubtedly put a lot more districts into play than the Republican/Teabaggers would like.

"The 'typical American' won't even know about it." SecularAnimist @ 11:16 AM.

Not if we rely solely on the so-called MSM, no. There are other methods, however. I believe one of them is called "having a conversation". I understand it's an excellent way of spreading information that might have been overlooked for one reason or another.
Of course, it does require interacting with "typical Americans", THAT might be a hurdle...

Posted by: Doug on March 2, 2011 at 8:32 PM | PERMALINK

"There are other methods... ...one of them is called 'having a conversation'."
Doug on March 2, 2011 at 8:32 PM

And another is to start a regular series of e-mail forwards.
Since it doesn't seem as if any wealthy progressives are inclined to buy or create a tv/cable/satellite network to practice that art once known as "journalism" (and I really do not get why; there should be enough of a market for one that it wouldn't even have to be run at a loss, as The Washington Times and The Spectator were/are), we're on our own here.
But crafting e-mail messages that get forwarded is -- in the right hands -- a near-zero-cost project, and could, given sufficient time, be massively successful.
It would have to start out looking and sounding like just another set of reichwing screeds, with populist takes on the various sellouts of the middle-class by teh Ebil Gummint, and how the big banks own teh Ebil Gummint and are robbing taxpayer dollars -- with, say, a three-to-one ratio of attacks on Democrat-vs-Publican traitors (most of the targeted Dem's being, of course, the surviving Blue Dogs, conservadems, and DLC-types).
But, over time, having established credibility with such moderates and teabeggar types as get reached and are reachable, start broadening out the targets to more fully and accurately reflect just who's been selling them out and how, these past few decades.
This would not be a difficult thing to do -- and, over time, the impact could be considerable.
I've been wondering for a few years now why nobody's started this yet.

Posted by: smartalek on March 2, 2011 at 11:07 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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