Where Montana’s Congressional delegation stands on oil subsidies

In light of record deficits and rising gas prices, massive subsidies for big oil companies are falling under Congressional scrutiny.

The nation’s biggest oil companies—Exxon Mobile, Royal Dutch Shell, BP, Chevron and Conoco Phillips—receive about $2 billion a year in taxpayer-funded subsidies despite rising profits  [Christian Science Monitor, 5/10/11].

Montana Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester are looking to end the subsidies as a responsible way to ensure big corporations are carrying their responsibility toward reducing the debt. Congressman Rehberg has already voted against a measure that would end giveaways for big oil.  

“Ending unnecessary oil subsidies makes sure big corporations live up to their responsibility to help pay down the debt,” said Ted Dick, Executive Director of the Montana Democratic Party. “We need to keep people working to produce domestic energy, and make sure that big oil companies play a responsible role in tackling our debt challenges.”

Here is a recap of where each member of Montana’s Congressional delegation stands on making sure big oil lives up to its responsibility to pay down the debt:

Jon Tester

Jon is sponsoring the Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act, to which he contributed two key measures:

  • One that would close a loophole that allows big oil to write off foreign royalty payments as taxes, which allows these corporations to avoid paying their fair share.
  • Another to require companies like BP to pay maximum fines if they are responsible for massive oil spills.

Max Baucus

As Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Max held a hearing on Thursday, May 12th to take Big Oil CEOs to task for raking in record profits while Montanans are paying record gas prices at the pump.

Dennis Rehberg

Not long after telling Montanans that ending subsidies for big oil was ‘on the table’, Congressman Rehberg voted against a bill in the House to end giveaways for big oil [Roll Call Vote #293, 5/5/11].

Although Congressman Rehberg ended up voting to maintain the subsidies, he previously told Montanans, “If we were able to eliminate whatever subsidies the people were talking about in the mainstream media, it would not affect the price of gasoline right now.”

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