Senate votes to scrap ethanol subsidy
June 16th, 2011
02:52 PM ET
3 years ago

Senate votes to scrap ethanol subsidy

(CNN) – The Senate Thursday approved a measure scrapping a controversial $6 billion annual subsidy for the ethanol industry.

The lopsided tally was 73 to 27, marking the first time a supermajority of senators voted to do away with the special tax break, originally designed to bolster the nascent bio-fuels industry but now considered by many on Capitol Hill to be an unwarranted taxpayer expense.

The vote does not necessarily mean the subsidy will disappear right away. For one thing, it was adopted as an amendment to an unrelated bill that is unlikely to ever become law. However, because it crossed the coveted 60 vote threshold –the number needed to break a filibuster– it sends a strong signal that the tide has turned against continued taxpayer support for the industry.

The special tax break is due to expire at the end of the year. This legislation would end it by July 1st, saving taxpayers about $3 billion, according to the bill's supporters.


Filed under: Energy • Senate
soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. GI Joe

    Good – Bachmann family multi-million dollar farm subsidies need to go next. And the good ole oil company subsidies need to stop too. AND the tax cuts for the wealth (not small-business). Apply ALL of it to the deficit. It may not come down super fast, but it will stop growing.

    It's about time – after fighting and yelling HELL NO for 2-1/2 years, I think some of the republicans are getting the message.

    June 16, 2011 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  2. Bill from GA

    This move could possibly contribute to a significant lowering of prices on corn, and other grains, all over the world. Please, Government, GET THIS DONE.

    And then work to eliminate some of the other give-aways to Big Business and Big Agriculture. (I'm not against helping working farmers, when the help is REALLY needed.)

    June 16, 2011 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  3. kyle

    Hopefully the oil crooks are next!!!

    June 16, 2011 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  4. BinVA

    Yes! Finally some sanity in DC! Let's kill this destruction of food for gasoline charade right now. Corn makes lousy fuel, uses almost as much energy to produce as it provides, encourages farmers to over fertilize and thereby pollute the waters, and drives up food prices.

    June 16, 2011 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  5. Bill from GA

    Ethanol was a good idea, to try. But the reality is that it probably uses as much oil , to create it and transport it (can't put it in pipelines), as it replaces. Fuel economy on 85% ethanol is way off from gasoline.

    June 16, 2011 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  6. Eric

    All farm subsidies should be ended as well.

    June 16, 2011 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  7. GI Joe

    Then there is Dick Army that has a goat or two and claims a farm so he gets subsidies from US. if you don't know who he is, he's one of the strongest supporters of the "fiscally responsible (sic)" tea-baggers, while he hits the US up for free money. Can you spell hypocricy?

    June 16, 2011 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  8. ThinkAgain

    We should be growing hemp and using it for fuel. This would supplement corn and preserve it for agricultural uses.

    June 16, 2011 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  9. DA

    Good, now lets hope they continue to grow grains to feed live stock and people as oppose to just making a buck off the American people!!!

    June 16, 2011 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  10. Jeff

    How incredibly short sighted. Let's scrap the ethanol subsidy but continue full speed ahead with the oil and gas subsidies. The United States needs to work towards energy independence. That ain't gonna happen with domestic drilling. I don't know about any of you, but i would rather pay for a fuel produced domestically than one whose profits fill the coffers of countries who hate us!

    June 16, 2011 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  11. gt

    whats going on ? has the senate woke up.... food to fuel ... ugh... what a waste... good job senate...

    June 16, 2011 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  12. DC2003

    So ... I guess they'll be ending the over 50 years of direct & indirect subsidies to the nuclear, coal and oil industries as well?
    Nuclear industry will have to actually get real liability insurance, pay for the storage & disposal of their own waste. And actually pay taxes on their true income!
    WoW ... no more deficit!

    June 16, 2011 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  13. AZ DEM

    If only the House weren't full of Republicans this would easily become law...

    June 16, 2011 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

    Great.
    Now corn futures are going to be speculated like oil.
    Get ready for artificial inflation in our food prices.

    June 16, 2011 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  15. The Greedy Old Pigs have declared class war on America!

    Turning food into fuel was idiotic, and an example of how the citizens need to be vigilant. It was sold to the public as "green energy" until real scientists started looking at the bogus numbers and the actual inputs and outputs. Remember, science can help make better decisions of the people pay attention. Sadly, the GOBPbaggers fear science and knowledge and seem more comfortable with ignorance.

    June 16, 2011 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  16. Stupidscript

    FREAKING AWESOME! And it's about time. This subsidy was one of several political 'incentives' that have seriously damaged the world's food supply. It will be interesting to see how the suppliers react. And we can now hope that more of the food supply will actually be used for food, and not to prop up the oil companies' profits.

    June 16, 2011 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  17. sammieb51

    IOh but let me guess, we are keeping the $40 Billion subsidy in place for the oil companies, right? Because they really need it, they aern't already making enuf money off us!

    June 16, 2011 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  18. jamison

    That's a start. Now lets find BILLIONS more that we are giving away and close those loopholes.

    June 16, 2011 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  19. Mason

    That is great. Ethanol has been one of the biggest scams plaguing taxpayers for years. It has always just been a payoff from the Congressman in the corn rich states to stay in office. It is a loser for taxpayers. Gas, oil, and even coal are better options. Lets see if this gets past the green/high cost energy President.

    June 16, 2011 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  20. Name jeremy@Dallas

    Taking away from poor Iowa farmers to give to the rich oil companies. Best way to go Republicans

    June 16, 2011 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  21. logic in LA

    But keep those billions in subsidies for the oil companies! Good job congress!

    June 16, 2011 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  22. NVa Native

    Grover Norkqwist must be balled up in a corner somewhere sobbing, and that is good!
    Don't stop there stop the tax subsidies for multi-nationals that get tax subsidies to send American jobs over-seas.

    June 16, 2011 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  23. pmk1953

    I still don't understand the logic of using FOOD for fuel. This is one of the dumbest things I've ever seen.

    June 16, 2011 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  24. Republicans - The "Not Intended To Be Factually Accurate" Party

    They are only scrapping this to bolster BIG OIL. Subsidies on alternative energies should be the last, not the FIRST to be abolished. By this move, they raise our dependence on oil and put American troops at risk in future middle east conflicts to protect the flow of crude.

    In the American spirit of FAIRNESS, shouldn't the OLDER, HIGHLY PROFITABLE oil industry give up it's subsidies which cost the American Tax Payers BILLIONS of dollars.

    If the Congress truly believes in cutting spending, paying down the National Debt, and placing our economic faith in a Free Market [doesn't the GOP always say this?] , they will eliminate these tax givebacks to ExxonMobil, British Petroleum , etc.

    Why are GOP members in favor or REDISTRIBUTING wealth [ taxes paid by MILLIONS of Americans ] to Oil Companies [Executive and a few thousand shareholders]? Let's call it what it is.

    June 16, 2011 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  25. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    One of the big problems with our deficit is bills from years ago were passed and put into budget; take for example, Bush passed a Medicare budget onto the Obama administration that is just now being funded but needed. I wonder how many bills have been passed in previous years,added to the budget that is a significant part of our deficit but no one is willing to dump them.

    June 16, 2011 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
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