Senate vote signals uncertain future for ethanol subsidies

WASHINGTON — The Senate delivered a strong rebuke to ethanol tax subsidies Thursday when more than two-thirds of senators voted to immediately end an existing 45-cent-per-gallon tax credit for blending ethanol in gasoline that expires at the end of the year, according to a report from Politico.

“I think the days of large subsidies like this are really over, and this is kind of the first vote on it,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who sponsored the subsidies amendment with Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.). “I think you’re going to see all kinds of subsidies go, because we’ve got so many problems.”

According to the report, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) promised to allow another set of votes on the ethanol language in legislation that has a better chance of becoming law than the economic development bill currently on the floor.

Just 15 minutes after voting 73-24 to end the ethanol tax credit, only 40 senators supported an amendment that would end federal aid for ethanol blender pumps and storage facilities. Politico says the split decision leaves a door open for ethanol backers to try to work out a deal to continue getting some federal help.

To read the full report, click here: Ethanol vote fuels subsidy doubts

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