Tuesday, June 14, 2011
A vote in the U.S. Senate today is pitting corn growers against chicken farmers, anti-tax purists against anti-spending advocates, and Democrats and Republicans against members of their own parties.
Senator Tom Coburn’s attempt to eliminate tax breaks and tariffs that benefit the ethanol industry will place his colleagues in the middle of a political fight over corn-based energy that has fermented for years. Coburn is bringing another quarrel to a boil -- his feud with Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, a Washington group that has persuaded 40 of 47 Republican senators to sign its no-tax-increase pledge. ...
Lobbyists and members of Congress are watching the fate of Coburn’s amendment as a signal for whether the Oklahoma Republican can persuade members of his own party to declare that eliminating a tax break isn’t always equivalent to a tax increase. If Coburn succeeds, it would be easier to attack other tax breaks in a similar way or pare such breaks to reduce the federal budget deficit. ...
Norquist’s group considers voting for Coburn’s amendment a pledge violation unless senators also vote for a proposal by Senator Jim DeMint, a South Carolina Republican, which would eliminate the ethanol usage mandate and repeal the estate tax.
- The Hill, Vote to End Ethanol Subsidies Revives Coburn-Norquist Tax Revenue Battle
- Roll Call, Coburn-Norquist Spat Comes to Senate Floor
- Wall Street Journal, Ethanol Amendment Highlights GOP Unease Over Raising Revenue
Update: The Coburn amendment to kill the ethanol tax credit failed this afternoon by a single vote (40-59).