The Senate voted overwhelmingly today to eliminate billions of dollars in support for the U.S. ethanol industry, sending a strong message that the era of big taxpayer support for biofuels is ending.
The 73-27 vote may ultimately be symbolic since the White House has vowed not to repeal ethanol subsidies fully and the bill the repeal language is attached to is not expected to make it into law. But it underscores the growing desperation to find savings in a budget crisis that is forcing both sides of the aisle to consider sacrificing once-sacred government programs.
"Ending this wasteful handout would ensure taxpayers no longer subsidize the already profitable corn ethanol industry," Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg said.
The increasingly hostile attitude toward federal ethanol support has added fuel to a steep fall this week in the price of corn, from which most U.S. ethanol is made.
The Senate vote shows the odds are diminishing that the 45-cent-a-gallon subsidy the government gives refiners and the 54-cent-per-gallon tariff on imported ethanol--both targeted in today's vote--will be extended at current rates beyond their scheduled expiration at the end of this year. … Read more