Sen. Landrieu calls Senate oil-tax vote 'entertainment'

Speaking on the Senate floor, Landrieu said she could support efforts to raise taxes in some instances, but only as part of a broader debate that has not happened.

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"I will be the first to stand up and say many of these subsidies, or some of them, need to be eliminated, particularly when the taxpayers are looking to close the deficit and reduce our debt," she said. "Most certainly we need revenues. Should this be on the table when that serious, thoughtful, deliberate debate happens? Yes.

"But today? This is entertainment," she stated. "And it's really not funny, and it's not laughable — it's very serious."

Landrieu defended oil companies by saying they already pay billions in taxes, and said it is a misconception that they pay no taxes at all. She said Conoco Philips, Chevron and ExxonMobil all have effective tax rates above 40 percent, which is higher than the rate paid by other companies such as Wal-Mart, Berkshire Hathaway, Intel, Philip Morris, IBM and Verizon.

She said this means that the idea these companies are avoiding taxes "just doesn't measure up."

"I understand that they are making a lot of money today," she said. "But this is no reason to go after them, singling them out, particularly because of the 9.2 million Americans that are working in and and for them, and the thousands of independent companies and suppliers that work in partnership with them."

The Senate Tuesday evening is expected to hold a vote to end debate on Sen. Robert Menendez's (D-N.J.) bill to raise oil companies' taxes, but there is no expectation that it will garner the needed 60 votes.