Washington, D.C.—Rep. John Barrow (D-Ga.) voted against a House measure yesterday that would have cut subsidies for the largest oil companies, which would have saved taxpayers an estimated $53 million. The vote came as part of the “continuing resolution” debate aimed at averting a government shutdown as Congress and the White House negotiate the federal budget.
Rep. Barrow drew immediate criticism for his vote from two public interest organizations, Public Campaign Action Fund and the League of Conservation Voters, who noted that he has received at least $113,400 in campaign cash from oil and gas industry employees and political action committees during his time in Congress, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
“A lot of people are talking about shared sacrifice in this time of debts and deficits, but Big Oil’s campaign cash apparently makes them exempt,” said David Donnelly, national campaigns director for Public Campaign Action Fund. “Rep. Barrow needs to explain why he stood by the wasteful oil subsidies after taking over $100,000 in campaign cash from the industry.”
"With Americans reeling from high gas prices, Rep. Barrow voted to help Big Oil continue to pocket our money beyond the pump--supporting billions of dollars in unnecessary taxpayer handouts,” said Gene Karpinski, president of the League of Conservation Voters. “Big Oil keeps ripping off the American people, and Rep. Barrow just helped put more money back in their pockets."
On Tuesday, House Democrats submitted a “Motion to Recommit” as part of the voting process on the continuing resolution for the budget. The motion would have repealed government subsidies to oil companies for just the two weeks covered by the short-term budget, saving taxpayers an estimated $53 million. An outright repeal of the subsidies would save an estimated $43 billion over the next ten years. The measure failed by on a 249 to 176 vote. Every Republican and 13 Democrats, including Rep. Barrow, voted against the motion.
In the last election cycle alone, Rep. Barrow received $66,400 from the industry. In 2010, the oil and gas industry spent more than $146 million on lobbying Congress and gave $19 million in campaign contributions to federal candidates, political parties and PACs.
Public Campaign Action Fund works to hold politicians who are against comprehensive campaign finance reform accountable for where they get their political donations. Learn more at www.campaignmoney.org.
The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) is a national non-profit organization that works to turn environmental values into national priorities. To secure the environmental future of our planet, LCV advocates for sound environmental policies, elects pro-environment candidates who will adopt and implement such policies, provides the state LCVs with the resources and tools to accomplish and sustain their mission. Learn more at www.lcv.org.