All ethanol-supporting eyes were on the Senate today awaiting a vote on an amendment by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., that would have eliminated ethanol subsidies. However, the measure, which needed 60 votes to pass, failed on the Senate floor by a 59 to 40 margin.
In a release responding to the vote, Bart Schott, president National Corn Growers Association says: " We greatly appreciate the strong message senators sent Sen. Coburn today by showing him they understand the importance of the ethanol industry to rural America. This demonstrates the Senate’s lack of desire to engage in destructive policy making, especially to an industry that supports hundreds of thousands of jobs in America during a time of economic uncertainty."
If the amendment had succeeded, the ethanol industry would have seen production fall by as much as 38% according to NCGA. This would have impacted an industry that has more than 400,000 jobs, many in rural America, at a time of economic uncertainty. NCGA estimates losing the support would have resulted in the loss of 112,000 jobs in all sectors of the economy.
There are measures in the Senate that will change the nature of support for ethanol, shifting money more toward infrastructure improvements while still resulting in a net savings. However, the Coburn measure was the most drastic and arose with little time for ethanol supporters to respond.
Adds Schott: "NCGA supports alternative reform options that will provide a safety net to the industry while reducing the overall cost to the federal government. We hope Congress will focus on policy initiatives such as the Ethanol Reform and Deficit Reduction Act that was introduced yesterday by Sens. John Thune and Amy Klobuchar. NCGA and its partners in the ethanol industry look forward to working constructively with Congress towards reform."