Senators Lamar Alexander voted on Tuesday for an amendment offered by Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) that would end the 45-cent blender tax credit for ethanol, as well as the 54-cent tariff on imported ethanol. Senator Bob Corker, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee also voted for the amendment. The amendment failed to receive the 60 votes necessary to advance.
Sen. Alexander said, “This is a vote for lower food prices and a lower federal debt, both of which are necessary to create a better economy and more jobs.”
Sen. Corker said, “For a long time, these massive taxpayer subsidies have been a senseless, egregious and costly market distortion that our country cannot afford. You know you’ve got a bad policy when the very people benefiting from it are now saying it’s ridiculous and want it to end. By ending both the subsidies and the corresponding import barriers to ethanol, we can save $6 billion and restore market forces to a fully mature market.”
Ethanol tax credits account for roughly $6 billion in federal spending annually through the tax code, and according to both the Congressional Budget Office and the U.S. Government Accountability Office, do nothing to guarantee domestic ethanol production.