While an amendment to cut federal funding for ethanol blender pumps failed in the Senate, another one passed in the House. The amendment, offered by Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) to the Agriculture Appropriations bill passed by a vote of 283-128.
As the sun sets after a busy day on Capitol Hill for ethanol interests, the question is whether any of votes will matter in the long run. “This House bill is likely dead on arrival in the Senate, and the provision included by Rep. Flake was defeated in the vote on the amendment offered by Sen. McCain,” said the Renewable Fuels Association in a statement. “It remains our hope that lawmakers on both sides of the Capitol will now take up a serious conversation about American energy policy. Any discussion must include domestically produced renewable fuels like ethanol.”
Meanwhile, groups opposed to ethanol are pleased with the actions in both the House and Senate. A coalition that includes food retailers, poultry organizations and environmental interests called it “a tremendously important day in our fight to end the taxpayer-funded subsidies for corn-based ethanol” and applauded the votes “as the start of a new era for U.S. biofuels policy.”