According to the Associated Press, the Senate blocked a bill that would repeal about $2 billion a year in tax breaks for the five biggest oil companies, a Democratic response to $4-a-gallon gasoline that might fare better when Congress and the White House negotiate a deal later this year to increase the government''s ability to borrow. The bill was defeated on a procedural vote. But Democrats hope to build their case to include the measure in a deficit-reduction package being negotiated by key lawmakers and the Obama administration. Lawmakers from both parties are demanding deficit reduction as part of deal to increase the government''s ability to borrow and avoid an unprecedented default on U.S. Treasury bonds. Republicans and some Democrats opposed the tax increase, saying it would hurt domestic drilling while doing nothing to reduce gas prices. The vote was 52-48 in favor of the measure, short of the 60 votes needed to advance it. Three Democrats—Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Mark Begich of Alaska—joined with nearly all Republicans in opposing the measure. Two Republicans, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine, voted for it.