US Senate Votes to End Ethanol Industry Subsidies

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The U.S. Senate voted 73 to 27 on Thursday to wipe out billions of dollars in support for the U.S. ethanol industry.

The Senate approved an amendment to end the 45-cent-a-gallon subsidy the government gives refiners and the 54-cent-per-gallon tariff on imported ethanol from Brazil and other countries.

On Tuesday the Senate fell far short of the 60 votes needed on a similar amendment that would have stripped the industry of some $6 billion a year in support.

The Senate voted 59 to 40 against limiting debate on the measure from Oklahoma Republican Tom Coburn.

The ethanol subsidy amendment on Thursday from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Coburn will be tacked on to an underlying economic development bill, which faces a difficult time passing the Senate.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives voted 283-128 on Thursday to prevent Agriculture Department funding for tanks and blender pumps that the ethanol industry wants so stations can sell gasoline with higher blend rates.