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Senate Defeats Ethanol Subsidy Repeal; Durbin Plans to Revisit Issue

14 Jun 2011  |   Damien Shirley

Tags: Senate

Earlier today, the Senate voted down a measure—sponsored by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK)—that would have ended $6 billion in tax breaks for ethanol producers.

The bill was defeated by a 40 to 59 margin; it needed 60 votes to end debate and invoke a final vote on passage. 45 Democrats, 1 Independent and 13 Republicans voted against the measure; 5 Democrats, 1 Independent and 34 Republicans voted for the measure.

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) told reporters that the issue is likely to resurface, stating that “I think we are going to face a vote on the ethanol program” and “I don’t believe the way [Sen.] Tom [Coburn] approached it is the best way.”

The current program provides a credit of 45 cent per gallon of ethanol that is mixed into gasoline, but that credit is set to expire at the end of the year. Opponents of the program argue that it’s redundant since the national renewable fuels mandate already requires that ethanol be blended into gasoline.

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