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is built into many business plans, it should be allowed to expire at the end of the year instead of immediately being repealed.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