“Gang” splits on ethanol subsidies; Saxby votes to keep ‘em

Reversing course, the U.S. Senate today voted 73-27 to repeal a $6 billion tax credit that subsidizes the production of ethanol. One curious thing about the vote is how members of Georgia’s Saxby Chambliss, and the rest of his “Gang of Six” working to balance the budget, voted.

Members of the six who voted to end the subsidies: Mike Crapo, R.-Idaho; Mark Warner, D.-Va.; and Tom Coburn, R.-Okla. (who says he’s “on sabbatical” from the gang at present).

Voting to keep the subsidies: Kent Conrad, D.-Mont.; Dick Durbin, D.-Ill.; and our own Chambliss.

Curiouser, Chambliss was quoted just Tuesday saying he did not support extending the tax credit. His spokeswoman, Bronwyn Lance Chester, just emailed me this explanation for his “no” vote:

As you saw in Tuesday’s Congressional Record, he said on the floor that he was voting for cloture because he didn’t believe Coburn’s amendment deserved to be filibustered. But he also stated he believes that because the tax credit is built into many business plans, it should be allowed to expire at the end of the year instead of immediately being repealed.

To be clear: He does not agree with the ethanol tax credit, but believes it should be allowed to expire at the end of the year, as the law presently allows, rather than repealing it immediately, as Coburn’s amendment would have done.

If I were building a plan to reduce deficits by a reported $4.7 trillion during the next decade, I think I’d jump at any opportunity to cut spending whenever it presented itself. Heck, even the Senate’s avowed, full-fledged Socialist, Bernie Sanders, voted to repeal the subsidies.

This does not boost Chambliss’ budget-balancing credentials.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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41 comments Add your comment

Bart Abel

June 16th, 2011
4:26 pm

“Forty Democrats — including two independents that caucus with the party — and 33 Republicans voted to end the blender tax credit immediately.”

This is news is heartening. Kudos to members of both parties who voted for these cuts. Unfortunately, President Obama opposes them. But in the Senate, anyway, they have a veto-proof majority.

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0611/57151.html

Road Scholar

June 16th, 2011
4:26 pm

Just like the government workers and teachers who were furloughed….did that happen at the end of the year? Get real! Since you are dropping business tax rates, take away their “candy”. Oh the uncertainty!

oscar meyer

June 16th, 2011
4:31 pm

David Green

June 16th, 2011
4:31 pm

With an expiration date already built in I have to agree with Georgia’s Saxby Chambliss on this issue since it gives our greedy politicians the right to claim that the tax subsidies have run their course when the ethanol industry comes a beggin for an extension. If your really interested in balancing the budget Kyle then insist that the meals and financial gifts {bribes} given to Georgia’s legislators by lobbyists be considered income and taxed accordingly at 100% of the value received.

[...] Read More… [...]

Michael H. Smith

June 16th, 2011
5:00 pm

Now you’re talking Kyle. End all subsidies and deductions a.k.a. loopholes. This will raise revenue better than if the tax rates were raised; and by ending all subsidies and deductions it would probably hit the “evil rich” the hardest.

Then go after those regulations that only serve crony capitalism, so small businesses can compete and create jobs.

Amazing isn’t it Kyle, Texas has few regulations, is a right to work state and the legislators meet rarely; yet look at the jobs Gov. Rick Perry and government of Texas have created.

What hoppened dear shovel ready leader obumer? Trillions spent and how many jobs did you lose on YOUR WATCH?

Bryan G.

June 16th, 2011
5:05 pm

I hope this passes the House

Rob Woodall's mommy and daddy bought his healthcare, now his Uncle Sam pays for it.

June 16th, 2011
5:06 pm

A big atta-boy to the Senators who decided to stop the insanity with these subsidies.

Next up, big oil subsidies?

I Report (-: You Whine )-: Thee Magnificent!!! mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

June 16th, 2011
5:10 pm

If you only knew what else you subsidized…..

The billions that obozo plans to spend on his pointless, losing election kampaign quickly comes to mind.

Jefferson

June 16th, 2011
5:23 pm

Are you saying a tax credit is spending ? Huh ?

Jefferson

June 16th, 2011
5:25 pm

I’m not sure, would tax cuts be considered spending? huh ?

Jefferson

June 16th, 2011
5:29 pm

I personnally don’t think America should put food in their gas tanks. Gasoline is cheaper and gives better milage, smaller engines,fewer trips and lower speeds save fuel.

midtownguy

June 16th, 2011
5:52 pm

I bet Saxby traded his vote for when they get around to peanut subsidies. End all the farm subsidies before you go after anyone else. Cut the Department of Agriculture in half before you go after the EPA. If you are serious, you can’t go after only those programs you already dislike (Yeah, cut that Food Stamp Program to the bone, but don’t touch the Pentagon budget).

Kyle Wingfield

June 16th, 2011
5:53 pm

Jefferson: I’ve said as much before. You can subsidize something through direct spending or through the tax code (credits, deductions, exemptions). The method of accounting doesn’t really matter — except that doing it through the tax code arguably leads to less accountability because there’s no appropriation to measure and track.

the red herring

June 16th, 2011
6:47 pm

Saxby is a closet democrat—now that he’s come out of the closet—georgia voters should and could elect somebody that doesn’t go along with all of washingtons spending —- hopefully we will select a tea party person or a true republican candidate that can get Saxy out of office. it’s overdue…. we need people that want a free country without subsidizing everyone that doesn’t want to work… bye bye Saxby.

Dave

June 16th, 2011
6:49 pm

I’d have to do some research and I’m not in the mood; but, I think there are some other hidden subsidies for ethanol. Then there are the agricultural subsidies that have been around for decades. Anyone on board for an end to those? We don’t have any money to give away to groups, farmers, big Ag, oil companies and so on, or does the money bit Ag gives to our representatives change that?

Dave

June 16th, 2011
6:52 pm

“Bit” should be big.

David Green

June 16th, 2011
7:01 pm

Michael Georgia is a right to work state which simply means in actual practice that only employers have rights which is the primary reason why Georgia employers oppose allowing Georgia’s citizens to carry a firearm in their car while at work. It’s a mite bit risky to mistreat someone who is just a few feet away from the equalizer and enforcer of individual rights of his choice. Good luck at ending “all subsidies and deductions” as deal and the legislature have been BOUGHT lock stock and barrel by the lobbyists funded by the corporations.

BW

June 16th, 2011
7:29 pm

Nice…allowing the free market to work…what an idea

jconservative

June 16th, 2011
7:30 pm

Sounds like Chambliss’s vote was more about Coburn than about the budget.

Lil' Barry Bailout

June 16th, 2011
7:55 pm

David Green: Michael Georgia is a right to work state which simply means in actual practice that only employers have rights
———————

Nonsense. There are unionized workers in Georgia–workers are free to join or not join.

Why do you fear freedom?

Fascist.

MrLiberty

June 16th, 2011
8:38 pm

Just another example of the traitorous behavior of the scum that claims to represent this state. First the Patriot Act extension and now this. Never mind that ethanol is horribly energy inefficient. Never mind that the entire program is just a giant subsidy to big businesses like Archer Daniels Midland. Never mind that there are corn shortages around the world and we are burning our corn in our gas tanks. Never mind that it costs more energy to produce ethanol than it gives back. Saxby is the scum of the earth and doesn’t deserve to retain his american citizenship, let alone continue as our Senator. If a recall effort would amount to anything it should be started right now. Unfortunately the criminals in government wrote the laws on repeal and one must prove malfeasance in office. Violating one’s oath to the constitution doesn’t matter, just a subjective term like malfeasance.

How did this man ever get into office as our senator?

Cutty

June 16th, 2011
8:41 pm

Lil Barry, yes there are unions in Georgia, but with Georgia being a right to work state there is no collective bargaining. No bargaining power, just a paper tiger. Not that that will keep you from your biased opinion.

GW

June 16th, 2011
8:45 pm

Republicans were more interested in gaining more power in the Senate than they were in party principles with their support for Chambliss. That guy knows who sweetens his tea and it is most certainly not the GOP. He is such the Imperialist.

old timer

June 16th, 2011
9:05 pm

aonly people who like ethanol….mechaics..not good for engines..

Lil' Barry Bailout

June 16th, 2011
9:11 pm

Cutty: being a right to work state there is no collective bargaining.
———————-

Nonsense. In the union shops, the union negotiates wages/benefits/etc with management. Those who choose not to join the union go by the same agreement the union negotiates.

rooster

June 16th, 2011
9:26 pm

If Iowa did not have the first presidential caucuses, there would be no ethanol subsidy. It is not energy policy, but agriculture policy. The energy output does not nearly justify the input.

Jefferson – A tax credit is a reduction in revenue designed to promote a particular outcome. Exactly like spending.

Dave R.

June 16th, 2011
9:38 pm

Saxby Chambliss is an embarrassment to anyone who believes in Republican principles, and is a waste of a good Senate seat.

Truth

June 16th, 2011
9:44 pm

Good Job, Ethanol is bad for auto & marine engines plus it doesn’t deserve a tax credit. Maybe there is hope still for our country

Cutty

June 16th, 2011
9:45 pm

Simply untrue lil Barry. The teacher’s have the biggest ‘union’ in the state, and they don’t negotiate wages nor benefits.

Lil' Barry Bailout

June 16th, 2011
9:50 pm

My experience is with Georgia Power–their craft people are unionized; those who choose not to join have to reimburse the union for bargaining for them.

Lil' Barry Bailout

June 16th, 2011
9:51 pm

If you don’t like Chambliss, don’t vote for him. You’ll be in the minority.

Dave R.

June 16th, 2011
9:56 pm

LBB, please name anything of substance that Saxby Chambliss has accomplished in is entire tenure in the Senate that conforms to conservative Constitutional principles.

Lil' Barry Bailout

June 16th, 2011
10:06 pm

Where did I say I believed Chambliss was some sort of strict constitutionalist? I support him because he’s doing his best to defeat the worst of the Idiot Messiah’s anti-American agenda.

Dave R.

June 16th, 2011
10:09 pm

He’s a seat warmer, LBB. Voted for all kinds of pork when the GOP was in power. And don’t even try to get any agriculture reform past him.

Waste of oxygen. We can do a lot better.

Jefferson

June 16th, 2011
11:52 pm

Got it — Bush essentially increased spending, Obama continued the trend, now it is out of fashion. How did Reagan get away with it ?

George P. Burdell

June 17th, 2011
12:11 am

Exactly the reason I voted against Saxby ( Libertarian, not the Democrat) last time around. He is in favor of farm subsidies in general and you cannot be for farm subsidies and believe in a free market system.

Lil' Barry Bailout

June 17th, 2011
6:20 am

Dave R., no doubt. Americans can and should still be thankful that Chambliss took the seat away from a far-left ideologue who would no doubt be voting with Obozo 99% of the time.

Churchill's MOM.....Ron Paul for President

June 17th, 2011
7:58 am

Just remember that Saxby’s son Bo is a LOBBYIST for the ETHANOL industry.. As congressmen say blood is thicker that what is good for the USA.

Bart Abel

June 17th, 2011
8:42 am

I’ve been reading more about this, and it turns out that this was a vote an amendment to a larger piece of legislation that is likely to fail. In addition, there’s no indication from the House that they’d be willing end ethanol subsidies too.

Unfortunately, this vote was largely symbolic.

[...] three-quarters of the U.S. Senate voted Thursday to end a reviled subsidy for ethanol producers, saving an estimated $6 billion a year, and [...]