A bill to tax the "windfall profits" of big oil companies stalled in the Senate on Tuesday, as Republican objections helped sink a bill.
With a 51-43 tally, the bill fell nine votes short of the 60 needed to proceed to debate on the measure which would have rescinded tax breaks for oil companies and reinvested the money in renewable forms of energy. It would also called for tougher penalties for price-gouging and crack down on speculation in the oil futures market.
The White House threatened to veto the bill Tuesday morning before the debate.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called the bill "a gimmick," that would only serve to depress domestic oil production.
“If the idea had any merit at all, Republicans would consider it," said McConnell. "It doesn’t."
After the vote, Democrats fumed that Republicans had once again blocked a legitimate effort to address skyrocketing gas prices.
"This is a major missed opportunity to finally discuss energy independence," said Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.).
Vermont Independent Senator said it was "literally beyond comprehension" that Republicans would block debate on the bill as gas prices crossed the $4 per gallon threshold.