Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill says she is disappointed the U.S Senate blocked a bill that would have repealed $2 billion per year in tax breaks for the five biggest oil companies.
Republicans and some Democrats opposed the tax increase for fear it would hurt domestic drilling while doing nothing to reduce gas prices.
McCaskill said Tuesday's vote against closing tax loopholes for Shell, ExxonMobil, Conoco Phillips, BP and Chevron makes her question how serious her fellow lawmakers are about reducing the deficit.
"All of the subsidies that we would have recovered from the big oil companies would have gone towards the deficit," McCaskill said. "And obviously these companies don't need these subsidies. Just in the last three months they made north of $35 billion in profit. So this is corporate welfare at its essence. It's distorting the free market."
McCaskill is calling for an investigation into reports that she says indicate that U.S. oil refiners are cutting back on U.S. gasoline stockpiles in order to artificially keep prices high.