Friday, May 13, 2011

Representatives Submit to Big Oil Bribes While Americans Continue to Suffer

Last week, Republican leaders in the House opposed a vote on Representative Tim Bishop’s legislation to repeal billions of dollars in taxpayer handouts to the richest oil companies. Then, they proceeded to pass legislation to expand offshore drilling while altogether failing to address the current high gas prices.

On April 15th, while $40 billion in taxpayer handouts for oil companies continued for the third consecutive month, the House of Representatives voted for a draconian budget that cut investments in clean energy (as well as other national priorities.) The same day, Congress began to release their 1st quarter fundraising numbers. During just three months, the Big Five Oil Companies (ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell, BP, Chevron and ConocoPhillips) contributed over a quarter million dollars to members of Congress, candidates, and Republican groups. Coincidentally, 85% of the total donation was given to members voting to continue the subsidies to the oil companies. While the role of government is to represent the people, many of the nation’s leaders have lost sight of this responsibility when presented with a hefty check. The result is a vote that has been bought in favor of the interest of a particular company instead of one that has been earned by the wishes of the people.

Just ten days later, oil companies announced record profits as a result of American citizens paying high prices for gas. In just the first three months of 2011, ExxonMobil reported $11 billion in profits, BP reported $5.5 billion in profits, and Shell reported $6.9 billion in profits. Over the past decade, these oil companies have enjoyed over $900 billion in profits. As American citizens endlessly suffer the burden of high gas prices, frustration with government members and their allegiance to oil companies swells. It is time that we demand leaders who refuse to be sold to the highest bidder and show our intolerance for the injustice that the American people are suffering.

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