Senate takes up bill repealing $2B oil tax breaks

May 17, 2011 - 11:14 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate is taking up a bill that would repeal about $2 billion a year in tax breaks for the five biggest oil companies.

The vote Tuesday evening is expected to fail, but Senate Democrats hope to build the case to include the measure in a deficit-reduction package being negotiated by key lawmakers and the Obama administration.

Senate Republicans and some Democrats, mainly from oil-producing states, oppose the tax increases.

The heads of the five oil companies defended the tax breaks at a Senate hearing last week, saying they just want the same tax advantages enjoyed by other industries. The companies are Shell Oil Co., ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, BP America and Chevron Corp.

A GOP measure designed to increase offshore drilling is scheduled for a Senate vote on Wednesday.