Senate Republicans have blocked a bill that aimed to eliminate tax subsidies for the five biggest oil companies in the United States.
On May 17, the Democratic-led chamber voted 52-48 in favor of the legislation, which is called the Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act. However, the law — which was heavily endorsed by President Barack Obama — fell short of the 60 votes needed to advance the measure.
Nearly all GOP Senators and three Democrats voted against the bill, which was designed to repeal $21 billion in tax subsidies for the top five U.S. oil companies over the next 10 years, according to The Washington Post. Many Democrats have claimed that profitable oil companies must make sacrifices to help reduce the national deficit, while GOP lawmakers argued that the bill would hinder job growth in the oil industry. They also refuted claims that the tax subsidies would somehow lower the prices at the gas pumps.
"This is not an energy strategy, this is a public relations strategy, this is a 'how do I get re-elected' strategy," said Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) of the Democrat-backed bill, quoted by The Associated Press. "It does not solve the problem or the pain that Americans are feeling at the pump."
Responding to the legislation proposal, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce called it "misguided, unwarranted and ultimately counterproductive," according to the news provider.