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Another shot at ethanol this afternoon

DANIEL LOOKER 06/16/2011 @ 9:28am Business Editor

The Senate is expected to vote again on the Coburn-Feinstein amendment to end the ethanol blenders credit at 2 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. Another amendment that would prevent the USDA from spending Farm Bill-authorized funds on blender pumps, sponsored by Senator John McCain (R-AZ), is also expected.

"Not only do they want to end the tax credit but McCain, McCain, he wants to block any way for ethanol to get to the marketplace," says Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA). 

Harkin is not optimistic that ethanol supporters in the Senate will win this battle.

"I'm afraid they're probably going to pass," he said. 

The amendments aren't likely to become law, however, unless similar legislation is introduced in the House, where tax legislation has to originate under the constitution. 

The tax credit will expire at the end of this year, anyway, but Harkin and other ethanol backers are hoping they can convince other senators to support "a more rational phaseout of VEETC" (the volumetric ethanol excise tax credit), Harkin said. 

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