Alert: Wyden Filibusters!

An actual, physical filibuster is a rare thing these days. And our Senator, Ron Wyden, is on the floor right now (watch C-SPAN 2 here) trying to force a vote on ending oil royalty relief for oil companies.

Update: Statement from Senator Wyden's office:

Senator Wyden has gone to the floor to demand that the US Senate vote on ending the practice of giving billions of dollars in royalty relief to big oil. Under last year’s energy bill, oil companies got a great deal – a reduced royalty payment for oil and gas taken from federal lands that costs as much as $35 billion. Wyden’s amendment would stop this ride as long as the price of oil is above $55 per barrel, except where royalty relief is needed to avoid supply disruptions because of hurricanes or other natural disasters.

With oil selling for more than $70 a barrel -- $15 a barrel higher than at the price the President said incentives weren’t needed -- Congress should not continue giving away more taxpayer money for unnecessary subsidies to benefit profitable energy interests. It is time to prohibit further royalty relief and save our citizens hard earned tax dollars for more worthy uses.

Senator Wyden went to the floor at 10:51 am (Eastern time) this morning to call for a guaranteed vote on this amendment. The majority has objected to a vote and he will remain on the floor until he gets it. He is refusing to leave the floor because if he does, he loses the right to take the floor on his amendment again, and more importantly would then leave without any guarantee that his amendment would be voted upon. He is remaining on the floor until he gets an agreement for a vote on his amendment.

Feel free to live-blog your own comments as it happens. Discuss...

Comments

  • East Coast Crazy (unverified)
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    I love Oregon. I hate republicans. they are terrfied of something this logical.

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    "When I think of Senator Domenici, I always think of fairness. Always!"

    Poor Ron. He's already beginning to hallucinate. :)

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    There's additional commentary over at Loaded Orygun and DailyKos.

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    FYI, the filibuster started at 7:51 a.m. PST.

    "I'm not interested in sweetening these sugar-laden incentives -- and do it behind closed doors!" "I'm not going sit by while taxpayers get fleeced again!"

  • Senate Maj Proj (unverified)
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    Folks, it is important other senators start supporting Wyden. If you live in a blue state put in a call to your Senator's DC office. Those of you in Oregon, call Gordon Smith's office and tell him its time to stick his neck out for Wyden and consumers.

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    Go Senator Wyden! The voters -- and drivers -- of Oregon appreciate your efforts.

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    The phone #s for Smith's D.C. and State Offices:

    Washington, DC Office 404 Russell Building Washington, DC 20510 Phone: 202.224.3753 Fax: 202.228.3997

    Portland, OR Office One World Trade Center 121 SW Salmon Street, Suite 1250 Portland, OR 97204 Phone: 503.326.3386 Fax: 503.326.2900

    Pendleton, OR Office Jager Building 116 South Main Street, Suite 3 Pendleton, OR 97801 Phone: 541.278.1129 Fax: 541.278.4109

    Medford, OR Office Security Plaza 1175 East Main, Suite 2D Medford, OR 97504 Phone: 541.608.9102 Fax: 541.608.9104

    Eugene, OR Office Federal Building 211 East 7th Avenue, Room 202 Eugene, OR 97401 Phone: 541.465.6750 Fax: 541.465.6808

    Bend, OR Office Jamison Building 131 NW Hawthorne Avenue, Suite 208 Bend, OR 97701 Phone: 541.318.1298 Fax: 541.318.1396

  • Chris McMullen (unverified)
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    I though greenies and Democrats in general wanted higher gas prices? Then everyone will drive less and be forced into mass transit. That sure was the case during the Clinton administration.

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    Looks like there was a deal offered -- a guarantee of a vote, and he would stop -- and it looks like the deal failed: Thad Cochran objected to the guaranteed up-or-down vote.

    Wyden: "What we saw, folks, in the last few moments was the ballgame. You can't get an up or down vote in the US Senate on this rip-off."

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    McChris: We want good jobs and clean energy. You guys want tax breaks for oil companies and polluters. We want open, accountable government -- not the GOP culture of corruption that lets energy executives write their own legislation behind closed doors. It's clear who's looking out for consumers here -- and who's going to pay a political price in November.

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    First Reid and now Durbin are lobbing softballs to Wyden. Good show.

  • Chris McMullen (unverified)
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    CB:

    So are you saying it would be okay if we were paying $3.00 for gas if $1.50 of it went to taxes?

    However, I would like a straight answer as to why Dems are upset by high gas prices when they've openly admitted to desiring that exact same thing in the past.

    (BTW, I'm a registered Independent. I want clean energy and good jobs, too. I definitely don't think oil companies, or any industry for that matter, should receive subsidies. Republicans have shot themselves in the foot and should suffer the consequences come November).

  • jami (unverified)
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    go ronnie go!

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    However, I would like a straight answer as to why Dems are upset by high gas prices when they've openly admitted to desiring that exact same thing in the past.

    Which Democrat specifically has articulated that they'd like to be fleeced with price gouging by oil companies?

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    It's not about prices right now. It's about giving oil companies a break on taxpayer-owned land, when their profits are at record levels? And it's about why the Senate isn't willing to vote on that amendment...

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    Domenici: "I was under the impression that the Senator was going to withdraw his amendment."

    Wyden: "I'm certainly not going to withdraw my amendment."

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    Domenici is starting to go a little apeshit. "It's meaningless! It will save the taxpayers ZERO DOLLARS!" And he's waving a piece of paper wildly. He almost hit a staffer in the face with it a moment ago. The guy flinched a little bit, then grasped the handle of his briefbox a little harder and went stonyfaced once more.

    Wyden's smart response: if this amendment is such a pointless loser, why are certain Senators fighting so hard not to have to vote no on it?

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    Reid is pulling the rug out on Wyden. He's telling him to give up.

  • Senate Maj Proj (unverified)
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    Reid conceeding defeat for Wyden. GOP just killed the Wyden amendment out of the public's view. Take note, if you thought this Government operated in public, think again and remember what happend to Sen Wyden today.

  • Winston Wolfe (unverified)
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    So has Wyden been smoking the liberal hippy lettuce or did he just discover that democrats run this state?

    If anyone from his office can let us know that would be great.

    "You have a corpse in a car, minus a head, in the garage. Take me to it."

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    It's over. Wyden yielded.

  • Anh (unverified)
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    This has been great. I called up Warner's office (Allen is just a lost cause) and it was busy. Wyden just yielded for a quorum call.

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    Senator Wyden is really on a roll. I've thought for a long time he's the most underrated official in the state by progressives, and today really confirms my feelings. He's had a pretty remarkable 12 months.

    Chris--

    I didn't advocate for a $1.50 taxes on gasoline anywhere in this post:

    McChris: We want good jobs and clean energy. You guys want tax breaks for oil companies and polluters. We want open, accountable government -- not the GOP culture of corruption that lets energy executives write their own legislation behind closed doors. It's clear who's looking out for consumers here -- and who's going to pay a political price in November.

    We should do more to encourage energy consumption but there are other strategies to accomplish this besides a one-size-fits-all tax on gasoline. It's also a strawman argument that was used by Bush against Kerry in the summer of 04. I believe BC04 went back to the mid 70s to source Kerry's "support" of higher gas taxes if I remember correctly -- a position which of course Kerry did not hold.

  • Jon W (unverified)
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    I know I'm late on this, but Chris' gas price posts illustrate how polarization is preventing us from even having the right conversations. The talk radio sound bite that all dems want high gas prices is just silly.
    What we are saying is that if the price of gas reflected the actual costs of getting it - troops in the Persian Gulf, environmental damage that our kids will have to pay for, nice kickbacks to already rich oil companies - then everyone would be more motivated to find alternatives.
    Chris, this stuff is too important to waste with rhetoric about how all democrats are long haired hippies who hate money. At the same time, we liberals should probably dispense with our long-cherished belief that all Republicans light their cigars from the smoldering corpses of spotted owls.

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    I've thought for a long time he's the most underrated official in the state by progressives, and today really confirms my feelings. He's had a pretty remarkable 12 months.

    Charlie, I think that's because he has previously spent his time working with Gordon Smith to bring back good things for Oregon, which didn't exactly burnish his progressive cred. Since the Bush presidency has metastacized, he's stepped away from Oregon and emerged, along with Russ Feingold, as one of the Senate's main national leaders. Very cool.

  • Bill Holmer (unverified)
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    The current price level is what it needs to be to make sure there aren't any shortages. The Republicans are right in saying that removing the royalty relief won't lower gas prices.

    Having said that, Wyden is right that the oil companies don't need the subsidy and removing it will certainly help the deficit. Too bad he lost this round. It's an idea whose time has come.

  • mrgov82 (unverified)
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    I just want to add my voice and congratulate Senator Wyden for standing up and filibustering in the Senate. Wyden has always stood up for issues affecting Oregonians and understands the power of the filibuster in raising awareness about the issues. Keep up the good work!

  • Pavel Goberman (unverified)
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    US Senator Wyden, carrier politician, many years are sucking taxpayers "blood". He knows how to talk, to talk about what the PEOPLE want to hear and most seniors are trusted this parasite of our society. But take it a real: he many times is talking about high fuel prices, but nothing changed. Visit the Federal Election Commission website: www.fec.gov and you will see from whom and how much this Political Prostitute received "contributions, donations" and selling our country. It is very simple: we MUST stop our dependency on foreign oil, we MUST stop funding our enemies and develop vehicles powered by electricity, or our nations someday could be cripled.

    <h2>Pavel Goberman - Candidate for US Repres. (against D. Wu)</h2>
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