Senator Feinstein said, "Today's overwhelming vote shows a bipartisan consensus to repeal irresponsible ethanol subsidies and tariffs. The 73 votes sent a powerful message that the days of big subsidies for ethanol are coming to a close. We must be serious about addressing the debt and deficit, and this is a good first step." The ethanol subsidy currently gives large oil companies 45 cents for every gallon of ethanol they blend with gasoline, even though much of that use is mandated by law. If the subsidy is repealed by July 1, as the amendment calls for, it will save approximately $2.7 billion for the remainder of 2011.
The ethanol tariff is comprised of a 54-cent-per-gallon secondary tariff and a 2.5 percent ad valorem tax. The ethanol tariff makes the United States nation more dependent on foreign oil by increasing the price of imported ethanol. Senator Feinstein said, "Ethanol is the only industry I know of that receives a triple crown of government support: its use is mandated by law, it enjoys protective tariffs and oil companies receive federal subsidies to use it. These flawed policies, which cost taxpayers nearly $6 billion a year, must be changed."
Senator Coburn issued a release saying, "Today's vote was a major victory for taxpayers and a positive step toward a serious deficit reduction agreement, which is our only hope of averting a debt crisis. An overwhelming bipartisan majority of senators embraced pro-growth tax reform while rejecting the parochial politics that so often paralyze the Senate. The best way to reduce our crushing $14.3 trillion debt is by reducing wasteful spending a billion dollars at a time. This amendment saves taxpayers $3 billion. In light of today's lopsided vote, I urge my colleagues in the House to eliminate this wasteful earmark and tariff at their earliest opportunity." Coburn indicated that on an annual basis the Feinstein-Coburn amendment would save taxpayers $6 billion. Because the year is half over, the amendment would save $3 billion.
Sen. Coburn also indicated that a broad coalition of organizations on the left and right including the Club for Growth, Americans for Prosperity, Koch Industries, and the Sierra Club all supported the Feinstein-Coburn amendment. The highly diverse coalition included many other major national environmental organizations supported the amendment, along with the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
RFA issued a statement on the defeat of the McCain amendment saying, "This vote signifies that an anti-ethanol wave in Congress isn't swelling, but rather that all this attention on ethanol was little more than political posturing. Lawmakers must now pivot to fact-based, comprehensive discussions about diversifying America's fuel markets and weakening the grip of OPEC and other nation's over our economy and energy security. American ethanol producers look forward to working in a constructive manner with lawmakers keeping an open mind about the future of American energy production. Renewable fuels like ethanol are the most effective tools we have today to reduce oil imports and prices at the pump."
Access a release from Sen. Feinstein (click here). Access a release from Sen. Coburn (click here). Access the listing of the diverse coalition (click here). Access the White House press briefing containing Carney's response (click here). Access a release from RFA on the Feinstein amendment (click here). Access a release from AEC (click here). Access a release from RFA on the McCain amendment (click here). Access a release from NWF (click here). Access a release from RFA's Dinneen explaining the week's events (click here). Access an insider report from The Hill that attempts to explain vote reversal (click here). Access legislative details for S.782 including amendments and roll call votes (click here). [*Energy/Biofuels](click here for information on getting the links and more information about eNewsUSA).