McCaskill continues to push for end to big oil subsidies after failed vote

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Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., speaks to reporters outside a Shell gas station in Columbia, Mo. in her continued support of a failed effort last week to end federal subsidies to the nation’s five largest oil companies. Photo by Tim Sampson/Missouri News Horizon.

BY TIM SAMPSON
Missouri News Horizon

COLUMBIA, Mo. – A week after the U.S. Senate blocked President Barack Obama’s call to end federal subsidies to the nation’s five largest oil companies, Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill toured the state to keep on pushing the president’s message.

“These five big oil companies do not need extra help with the tax goodies we give them at the expense of the American tax payer,” McCaskill said while speaking to reporters at a Shell gas station next to Interstate 70.

McCaskill joined all but four of her Democratic colleagues in voting to repeal the subsidies last week. Overall, the repeal gained a 51-vote majority, though it did not meet the required 60-vote threshold to break a Republican led filibuster on the issue.

Overall, the subsidies in question would provide more than $35 billion to the five companies in question over the next ten years. McCaskill said these companies’ profit margins eliminate the need for additional tax breaks.

However Republicans, like McCaskill’s Senate counterpart Roy Blunt, say that ending the subsides would force oil companies to raise their prices, in turn raising the price of gas for consumers.

“Families, farmers, seniors, and job creators are suffering from skyrocketing gas prices in Missouri and nationwide,” Blunt said in a written statement last week. “But instead of working to relieve pain at the pump, President Obama and the Democrat-led Senate are pushing for tax hikes that would be passed along to consumers – tax hikes they admit will do nothing to lower fuel costs”

But McCaskill disagrees that oil companies would be adversely affected, pointing toward the fact that domestic production and exports have both increased under the Obama administration. During her press conference, McCaskill reiterated her frequent assertion that U.S. oil refiners may be engaging in a deliberate plot to decrease production in order to drive up prices – a matter into which she has called for a federal investigation.

The Senator also called for the president to release oil from the strategic reserve to help keep summer gas prices low. She advocated all these positions, saying that there is “no magic bullet” for the problem.