*** Click here for video of Menendez on Senate Floor before tonight's vote ***

Washington - The United States Senate tonight voted overwhelmingly to allow debate on Senator Menendez's Repeal Big Oil Tax Subsidies Act, which would end taxpayer-funded loopholes to the five largest, most profitable oil companies in the world (Big 5) and use those savings to extend for one year expiring energy tax provisions and reduce the deficit.

"This debate is pretty simple. It's about whose side you're on. You're either on the side of Big Oil companies making record profits, or you're on the side of middle class American families who can't afford the price at the pump - let alone afford to chip in billions of dollars more to make oil profits even higher," said Menendez. "We know whose side Big Oil is on when they take $24 billion in taxpayer money and actually produce less oil, not more, leaving families with higher gas prices while they continue to make record profits."

Over the last decade, the Big 5 (BP, Exxon, Shell, Chevron, and ConocoPhillips) have enjoyed nearly $1 trillion in profits and tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies. Last year alone the Big 5 amassed $137 billion in profits on the backs of American drivers. At the same time, last year these five companies actually produced 4 percent less oil.

"I'm sure the American people will be interested to hear more from both sides about wasteful subsidies to big oil - why we want to end them and why Republicans want to defend them," added Menendez regarding the upcoming Senate debate.

The Menendez legislation will save nearly $24 billion over ten years by cutting these wasteful oil subsidies and use $11.7 billion of that savings to extend important clean energy tax incentives. These incentives will help create competition for oil in the marketplace, lower gas prices, create jobs, and put the U.S. in a position to compete for the energy industries of the 21st century. The bill extends tax credits for biodiesel, cellulosic ethanol, and alternative fuels such as natural gas and propane. It also extends important tax credits for wind, efficiency, and some fossil fuel incentives as well. Over $12 billion saved from cutting oil subsidies will be used to lower the deficit.