Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. pauses during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, April 8, 2011, after meeting with the Senate Democratic Caucus. From left are: Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., Reid, and Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin of Ill., Sen. Thomas Carper, D-Del., Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) (AP)
Democrats seek to slash subsidies for "Big Oil"
Senate leaders want to eliminate billions of dollars worth of tax breaks for energy companies
Democrats running the Senate are seeking to take away tax breaks that pad the profits of the five biggest oil companies by $2 billion a year and use the money to attack the spiraling deficit.
The new legislation would cut off immensely profitable companies like Shell Oil and Exxon Mobil from subsidies like a deduction originally aimed at boosting manufacturing. The top five oil companies have booked profits of $36 billion in the first quarter of this year alone.
New Jersey Democrat Robert Menendez acknowledged that the legislation -- slated for a vote next week -- won't do anything about gas prices that now exceed $4 a gallon in many places.
Republicans are expected to filibuster the bill. They say the companies would raise prices if the measure became law.