Senate votes to keeps ethanol subsidies

Party Rooster

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Apr 27, 2005
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#1
Senate keeps ethanol subsidies

Tom Coburn’s amendment would have repealed an ethanol tax credit set to expire next year. | AP

By DARREN GOODE | 6/14/11 4:03 PM EDT

The Senate on Tuesday rejected, 40-59, a symbolic attempt to strike ethanol tax subsidies as Democrats are working on a deal to hold at least one vote on ethanol next week.

The amendment from Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) fell well short of the necessary 60 votes to invoke cloture and limit debate. Five Democrats supported the amendment and 12 Republican ethanol backers, largely from the Midwest, opposed it.

Coburn’s amendment would have repealed a 45-cent-per-gallon tax credit to blend ethanol in gasoline that is set to expire at the end of the year. It is estimated that the tax credit would be worth upward of $6 billion if it were to continue the whole year. The amendment also would have repealed a 54-cent-per-gallon tariff on ethanol imports.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told reporters this afternoon he will hold an ethanol vote by June 24 as part of a deal with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who had initially co-sponsored Coburn’s amendment.

It is unclear whether there will be a vote only on the amendment from Feinstein or whether an additional vote on an alternative measure, like the one offered from Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), will be allowed.

Feinstein tried to get Coburn to withdraw his amendment shortly before the vote, noting objections by Democratic leaders over the process by which he secured Tuesday’s vote.

“There are real concerns about the process used to bring this amendment to the floor, and I think that has created some, unfortunately, very bad feelings which even are enough to affect people’s votes,” Feinstein said.

Feinstein ended up voting against the amendment — as did several other traditional Democratic opponents to ethanol subsidies. She said more time was needed to try to work out a deal with ethanol backers on possibly continuing some type of federal assistance for the corn-based additive.

Tuesday’s vote would have been closer — and may even have been successful — if it had been simply considered on substantive grounds, because a bipartisan group of senators from both coasts and elsewhere are opposed to continuing decades-long federal assistance for corn ethanol.

"I think we had the votes,” Feinstein told reporters before a closed-door Senate Democratic policy lunch that preceded the vote.

Indeed, several Democrats who ended up voting against the amendment — including Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey and Ben Cardin of Maryland — indicated before the policy lunch they were inclined to support the amendment.

Coburn surprised Senate leaders in both parties last Thursday when he went to the floor and quickly secured a vote for his amendment. He did so by calling up an unrelated amendment he had filed to economic development legislation and swapping out the details with the repeal of the ethanol credit. He then filed a motion to invoke cloture on the amendment before anyone knew what was happening.

Coburn has defended his tactic as “true and proper procedure” and said those who voted against the amendment merely on procedural grounds have a lot to answer for in their states. “Go home and tell people you refused to vote on the amendment because you didn’t like the way it was brought up. Let’s see how that sells to the American people,” he said.

Meanwhile, ethanol supporters have upped the ante in their bid to continue getting federal help amid higher pressure to chop federal spending.

About a dozen senators, led by Thune and Klobuchar, are proposing to immediately end — as of July 1 — the existing blender tax credit and replace it with a variable blender tax credit linked to the price of crude oil through 2014.
http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0611/56969.html#ixzz1PKgHxHNE
 
Aug 11, 2005
27,637
4
51
#2
This angers me

first the epa takes away lead from gasoline which take away from mpg

then the epa takes more mpg with this corn fuel shit!!!!
 

The Godfather

Spark it up for The Godfather and say!!!!!
May 9, 2007
11,256
10
163
#3
This angers me

first the epa takes away lead from gasoline which take away from mpg

then the epa takes more mpg with this corn fuel shit!!!!
 

BIV

I'm Biv Dick Black, the Over Poster.
Apr 22, 2002
78,425
27,301
898
Seattle
#4
Fuck this shit. All the corn subsidies should be fucking gone, not just the ethanol.

Corn ethanol is not even a good fuel. You want to subsidize ethanol? Subsidize cellulosic ethanol. It holds far more promise as a usable and effective fuel and is far better for the environment.

Go to about 20 minutes in: [yt]cfPjeMotfR8[/yt]
 

MayrMeninoCrash

Liberal Psycopath
Dec 9, 2004
24,322
8,507
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Silverdale, WA
#5
Fuck this shit. All the corn subsidies should be fucking gone, not just the ethanol.

Corn ethanol is not even a good fuel. You want to subsidize ethanol? Subsidize cellulosic ethanol. It holds far more promise as a usable and effective fuel and is far better for the environment.

Go to about 20 minutes in: [yt]cfPjeMotfR8[/yt]
Or simply remove the tariffs on sugar ethanol that Brazil produces and let the market dictate.
 
Dec 8, 2004
48,602
20,930
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Maine
#6
Well that and Mexico is growing less agave... and more corn... so tequila prices are going up.
 

BOZ29

Registered User
Jun 9, 2009
332
2
183
Raritan,NJ
#7
This is where the Republicans lose me. They also voted down a decrease in farm subsidies. Farmers making up to $750,000 a year are eligible for fucking subsidies????
 

MayrMeninoCrash

Liberal Psycopath
Dec 9, 2004
24,322
8,507
693
Silverdale, WA
#8
This is where the Republicans lose me. They also voted down a decrease in farm subsidies. Farmers making up to $750,000 a year are eligible for fucking subsidies????
I wonder why this is a huge issue for them?

 

Don the Radio Guy

G-Bb-A-D
Donator
Mar 30, 2006
69,628
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Wyoming
#9
This is where the Republicans lose me. They also voted down a decrease in farm subsidies. Farmers making up to $750,000 a year are eligible for fucking subsidies????
What's the alternative? Democrats support subsidies too.

Let's not forget that corn subsidies are also why Americans are fat and food prices are going up.
 
Jan 9, 2006
4,561
11
228
Delmar, NY
#11
This angers me

first the epa takes away lead from gasoline which take away from mpg

then the epa takes more mpg with this corn fuel shit!!!!
Getting rid of lead in fuel was a smart move. The costs associated with the health issues caused by lead outweigh the mpg benefits. The benefits of ethanol, on the other hand, well, are there any?
 
Jun 2, 2005
15,516
4
0
Dallas
#12
The benefits of ethanol, on the other hand, well, are there any?
- Raises food prices
- Decreases engine performance
- Convinces farmers to grow only corn for the subsidies

Nope. these are pretty much the only over-all effects.
 

Party Rooster

Unleash The Beast
Apr 27, 2005
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#13
- Raises food prices
- Decreases engine performance
- Convinces farmers to grow only corn for the subsidies

Nope. these are pretty much the only over-all effects.
What a communist. You're ignoring the fact that these farmers have more money to invest in job creation...;)
 

The Godfather

Spark it up for The Godfather and say!!!!!
May 9, 2007
11,256
10
163
#14
Can I have the honor of making the first "Corn in my crap" joke?
 

Party Rooster

Unleash The Beast
Apr 27, 2005
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#20
Days could be numbered though....

JUNE 16, 2011, 6:27 P.M. ET
Ethanol Suffers Rare Loss in Senate

By NAFTALI BENDAVID And STEPHEN POWER

A bipartisan majority of the Senate voted Thursday to end more than three decades of federal subsidies for ethanol, signaling that other long-sacrosanct programs could be at risk as Democrats and Republicans negotiate a sweeping deficit-reduction deal.

The tax breaks, which now cost about $6 billion a year, had long been considered untouchable politically because of the power of farm-state voters and lawmakers. Iowa's role as the site of the first presidential caucuses has further elevated the political potency of the biofuel.


The Senate voted to repeal a $6 billion tax credit for ethanol producers, a move that could signal the end of some federal subsidies as part of an eventual budget compromise. Joe White has details.

Journal Community

Presidential hopefuls made a quadrennial ritual of going to Iowa and pledging to support the tax breaks, tariffs and mandates that supported production of ethanol motor fuels from corn. This year, however, some Republican presidential candidates have pointedly refused to endorse ethanol tax breaks.

Thursday's vote doesn't by itself doom federal support for the corn ethanol industry. The House is expected to reject it on the grounds that changes to the tax code, under the Constitution, must originate there, and the White House says an outright repeal is too abrupt. But the 73-27 vote signals that in a time of fiscal challenges, programs that once appeared unassailable now could be vulnerable.

The ethanol vote was driven by a coalition of liberal lawmakers and fiscal conservatives—it was sponsored by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) and Tom Coburn (R., Okla.)—who want to end subsidies for wealthy interest groups before slashing social welfare programs. They were opposed by a bloc of farm-state lawmakers seeking to fend off the repeal or slow it down.

The Senate action could also open the door to attacks on other tax breaks, such as those benefiting oil companies, in the interest of deficit reduction. Republicans have been wary of doing so, but 33 Republicans joined 40 Democrats and Independents in supporting Thursday's repeal, which has the effect of raising taxes on oil refiners.

Still, Republican leaders have so far given no indication that they would be open to any other tax increases, and have insisted tax increases are off the table in the bipartisan budget talks.

The shift in the political climate has come rapidly. As recently as December, Congress voted to extend the ethanol subsidy for another year. But ethanol has come under increasing fire from diverse groups, including food-industry groups concerned about rising corn prices and environmentalists who had concluded corn ethanol wasn't an effective way to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.



Currently, much of the gasoline sold at service stations across the country contains up to 10% ethanol, in part because of federal regulations that effectively require it. The Obama administration has proposed pushing the blend limit to 15%, despite objections from auto makers worried that the higher ethanol levels would damage engine components in cars.

Auto makers design many so-called flex fuel vehicles to run on ethanol blends up to 85%. But few service stations outside the Midwest offer such fuels.

The ethanol industry and its supporters, who have been bracing themselves for an end to the tax break, were critical of the abruptness of the change. "We need a glide path, and not a cliff, for the only alternative to oil," said Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.). "We're talking about pulling the rug out from an industry that provides 10% of the nation's fuel supply."

The repeal's supporters said the $6 billion-a-year subsidy amounts to wasteful support for a fuel whose promises of cost savings, lower pollution and energy efficiency have not materialized.

"It's time to say, 'Enough is enough,' " said Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.), who's been fighting the subsidy for years. "This industry has been collecting corporate welfare for far, far too long."

Mr. McCain offered another measure, to block federal funding for ethanol pumps and storage facilities, which failed 41-59. The House adopted a similar amendment.

Gasoline blenders currently get a tax credit of 45 cents for every gallon of ethanol they blend with motor fuel. Tuesday's amendment would repeal that as well as a tariff of 54 cents per gallon on imported ethanol.

Ethanol producers criticized the Senate action. "We are disappointed in the shortsightedness of this vote, particularly as this same body voted less than one month ago to preserve billions of dollars in taxpayer handouts to the oil industry," said a statement from the Renewable Fuels Association, an ethanol industry group.

The government began subsidizing ethanol use in the late-1970s amid hopes that it would provide a low-cost, renewable fuel to help wean the country from foreign oil. But in recent years, political support for ethanol as an alternative to foreign oil has ebbed because its annual appetite for corn has swelled to five billion bushels, or 40% of all the corn grown in the U.S. last year.

Food companies and livestock farmers complain their costs of buying corn and other crops have exploded due in large part to the rise of the corn-to-ethanol industry. The price of corn, the nation's biggest crop, has traded above $7 a bushel for much of the spring, twice the year-ago level.

Some economists doubt that the tax credit is crucial for the industry anymore. The ethanol industry only began to grow rapidly five years ago when new energy legislation required gasoline retailers to use 12.6 billion gallons of corn ethanol this year, moving to 15 billion gallons in 2015.

Demand for ethanol is currently bigger than the federal mandate, by more than one billion gallons annually, because ethanol costs less for gasoline retailers to buy than gasoline itself.

"The ethanol industry doesn't need the tax credit anymore," said Bruce Babcock, an economics professor at Iowa State University.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304319804576389843694911096.html?mod=googlenews_wsj
 

Party Rooster

Unleash The Beast
Apr 27, 2005
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#21
Days could be numbered though....
Days were numbered...:icon_eek:

Thread title change? "whaa"

Lefty treehugger blog, but here it its:
Congress Actually Ends Taxpayer Funding Of Ethanol Subsidies

BY JOHN VOELCKER
December 27, 2011

When the U.S. Congress adjourned for the holidays on Friday, December 23, its departure sealed the fate of subsidized ethanol production.

During its session, the Congress did not renew a tax break for U.S. production of corn-based ethanol that had become increasingly unpopular across a wide area of the political spectrum.

The tax credit amounted to 45 cents per gallon of ethanol that was blended into gasoline. It had been in place since 1980.

Corn lobby loses support

As The Detroit News reported the next day, by some estimates, total subsidies to the ethanol industry may have reached $45 billion over that period. That is several times the total loans, grants, and tax credits provided thus far to the U.S. electric-car industry.

Gas pump
In June, the Senate voted 73-27 to end the tax break. That vote, attached to an economic development bill that was stalled, was viewed as symbolic--letting Congressmembers go on record against continuing the subsidies without effectively ending them.

It proved to be a test case that demonstrated the waning support in Congress for the corn-based ethanol industry. Three weeks later, an agreement was reached to end the subsidies for real--and it held for the rest of the year.

Ending the ethanol tax breaks is projected to save about $2 billion over several years. Of that total, two-thirds is to be applied to cutting the national debt, although it represents just one-tenth of 1 percent of the total national debt of $14.3 trillion.

Half as productive as Brazil

Using corn is the least productive way to make ethanol, at roughly 300 gallons per acre of feedstock. The Brazilian ethanol industry gets twice as many gallons per acre using sugar cane, and other feedstocks like switchgrass have been projected to produce up to 1,200 gallons per acre.

Development of cellulosic ethanol refineries that use non-corn feedstocks have lagged commercially, despite several pilot projects.

U.S. corn ethanol had further been protected by a 54-cents-per-gallon tariff on imports of ethanol from other countries (meaning Brazil). That import duty was also ended by the departure of Congress for the year.

But with sugar prices high in Brazil, imports of ethanol aren't likely to spike in the short term.

Conflict with 2007 mandate

That leads to a longer-range question: Will there be sufficient ethanol produced and imported to meet the escalating ethanol-use requirements of the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act passed by Congress?

Proposed EPA E15 gasoline pump warning label for ethanol content
That law requires that 36 billion gallons of ethanol be blended into U.S. vehicle fuel by 2022--which is more than three times the 11.1 billion gallons used in 2010. The requirement rises to 15 billion gallons for 2015.

Congress has blocked the EPA's approval of E15 gasoline, which has up to 15 percent ethanol, largely at the request of automakers and others who fear damage to engines not designed to handle fuel with that volume of ethanol. The current standard, in places for decades, permits up to 10 percent ethanol in pump gasoline.

So while Congress has ended tax breaks, it may have set up the fuel industry for failure on the 2007 mandate by explicitly banning E15 gasoline.

Until that is resolved, the politics of ethanol are likely to remain fractious.

http://www.greencarreports.com/news...ly-ends-taxpayer-funding-of-ethanol-subsidies
 

Norm Stansfield

私は亀が好きだ。
Mar 17, 2009
15,949
4,075
328
#22
Or simply remove the tariffs on sugar ethanol that Brazil produces and let the market dictate.
Gee, if only the Bush Administration had that idea in 2003.
The Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) (Spanish: Área de Libre Comercio de las Américas (ALCA), French: Zone de libre-échange des Amériques (ZLÉA), Portuguese: Área de Livre Comércio das Américas (ALCA), Dutch: Vrijhandelszone van Amerika) was a proposed agreement to eliminate or reduce the trade barriers among all countries in the Americas but Cuba. In the last round of negotiations, trade ministers from 34 countries met in Miami, United States, in November 2003 to discuss the proposal. [3] The proposed agreement was an extension of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between Canada, Mexico and the United States.
Oh, they did? Really? So what happened, wikipedia, how come the tariffs stayed in place?
Opposing the proposal were Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Dominica, Nicaragua and Honduras (all of which entered the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas in response), and Argentina, Chile and Brazil.
Oh.
 

Party Rooster

Unleash The Beast
Apr 27, 2005
40,304
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438
The Inland Empire State
#23
Gee, if only the Bush Administration had that idea in 2003.

Oh, they did? Really? So what happened, wikipedia, how come the tariffs stayed in place?

Oh.
Because Bush and a Republican-controlled Congress didn't really believe in free market capitalism? "whaa"