With the Senate in the midst of considering a bill that would repeal tax subsidies for oil companies, Democrats are looking to turn the issue against a Republican who hopes to be back in the Senate next year — George Allen.

Former Virginia governors Allen and Timothy M. Kaine (D) are their respective parties’ expected nominees in the contest to succeed retiring Sen. James Webb (D). Energy policy has been a key front in their battle, with Allen accusing Kaine and his fellow Democrats of allowing gas prices to rise by preventing increased oil exploration, and Kaine suggesting Allen is doing the bidding of the oil industry.

George Allen, former U.S. senator and Virginia governor (Stephanie Klein-Davis/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

That latter charge surfaced again Monday as the Senate took a procedural vote on the Repeal Big Oil Tax Subsidies Act, which would repeal some tax breaks for oil companies and steer the savings toward credits for clean energy projects. The bill moved forward on a 92-4 vote and will now be debated, though most Republicans will likely vote against final passage.

“Unfortunately, by supporting these unnecessary subsidies, my opponent George Allen and other Republicans appear to be answering to the best interests of their campaign war chests instead of the best interests of the American people,” Kaine said in a press release announcing his support for the bill.

The Democratic Party of Virginia also got in on the act, with party Executive Director David Mills alleging that Allen’s “entire career has been defined by his loyalty to big oil companies that pay his salary and bankroll his campaigns, and his reelection campaign is no different.”

The Allen campaign had not responded to a request for comment on his position on the tax subsidy bill as of this posting.

The Republican sought last week to tie Kaine and President Obama to rising fuel costs by unveiling a gas price calculator that compares current prices to those when Obama took office in January 2009.