Entries in Ethanol Subsidies (4)


Bachmann Says She Opposes Ethanol Subsidies at Iowa Forum

Win McNamee/Getty Images(PELLA, Iowa) -- Speaking at a presidential forum Tuesday in Pella, Iowa, GOP candidate Michele Bachmann said she opposes federal subsidies for ethanol. The Minnesota congresswoman apparently took some of the nuance out of previous statements in which she has tread a careful line between supporting farmers and opposing government handouts.

“I want to pull the regulation burden back and then I don’t think we’ll need the level of subsidies we’ve had in the past,” Bachmann said in response to a question on energy and wind credits.

“Does that include ethanol?” the moderator asked.

“That includes all energy,” Bachmann said. “I want to see a [level] federal playing field. We’ve seen what a disaster it is when the federal government picks winners and losers,” she said, referencing Solyndra, the bankrupt manufacturer of solar panels championed by the Obama administration. Hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars were sunk into the company.

“I fully believe all these [energy] industries have the capacity to stand on their own,” she said.

Bachmann routinely says she wants to “legalize American energy production and American natural resources” and supports drilling for oil on federal lands.

Her position on ethanol subsidies has been far more nuanced, trying on one hand to support the industry -- corn farmers vital to Iowa’s economy -- and oppose subsidies, as federal handouts are anathema to her Tea Party supporters.

“When it comes to ethanol, I think that it’s a part of our solution, but there’s concerns about that because of the subsidies,” Bachmann told Fox Business earlier this year. “I think it’s just something that we have to look at going forward.”

Fellow contenders Ron Paul, Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman have come out in opposition to ethanol subsidies. Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney both support them.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Romney Supports Ethanol Subsidies, Opposes Pawlenty's 'Hard Truth'

James Devaney/WireImage(DES MOINES, Iowa) -- Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty are at odds on one of the biggest issues to voters in Iowa, home of the nation’s first presidential caucuses.

Ethanol -- and government subsidies for it -- are historically a sacred cow in the Hawkeye state.

Earlier this week Pawlenty -- as part of his campaign based on telling “hard truths” -- said in Des Moines that it is time to start phasing out ethanol subsidies.

“We need to phase out subsidies across all sources of energy and all industries, including ethanol,” Pawlenty said. “We simply can't afford them anymore. Some people will be upset by what I'm saying. Conventional wisdom says you can't talk about ethanol in Iowa or Social Security in Florida or financial reform on Wall Street. But someone has to say it. Someone has to finally stand up and level with the American people. Someone has to lead -- I will.”

The former Minnesota governor’s stance surprised some, but for the most part it won praise from conservatives. One GOP operative applauded for Pawlenty for “a really gutsy move.”

But Romney, in his first trip to Iowa Friday, took an opposing point of view.

Bombarded with questions following his talk at the Greater Des Moines Partnership’s Presidential Forum Speaker Series, the former Massachusetts governor told the gaggle of press and fans Friday that he supports the production of ethanol.

“I support the subsidy of ethanol,” said Romney, working his way through the Des Moines crowd, where he shook hands and doled out autographs. “I believe it’s an important part of our energy solution in this country.”

The ethanol debate is likely to be the first of many opposing policies the two GOP presidential hopefuls will have as they battle for the nomination.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Ethanol Subsidies: Republicans Senators Target $6 Billion Tax Credit

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Congressional Republicans, hungry for billions of dollars in savings from the federal budget, are expressing new willingness to touch what has previously been a sacred cow: taxpayer subsidies for corn-based ethanol.

The federal government has given a nearly $6 billion tax credit to American producers of the bio-fuel every year since 2005, and doled out additional billions in special grants and loan guarantees for more than 30 years.

Now, a growing number of lawmakers, including several from agricultural states, say it's time for at least some of the special treatment to end.

"I've talked to ethanol people.  I've said that this is something that's got to make economic sense," Indiana Republican Sen. Dan Coats told ABC News of the tax credits he's previously fought to defend.

"We may need to phase down to the point where it does that.  And I'm willing to put that on the table and have an honest discussion about it," he said.

Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn, who's part of the bipartisan "gang of six" working to solve the budget crisis, has proposed immediately eliminating the 45-cents-a-gallon tax credit.  The move would, in effect, force ethanol producers to pay more in taxes and give the government a $4 billion boost in revenue through the end of this year.

Elimination of the business tax credit is also part of House Republican Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's controversial budget blueprint for the next fiscal year.

But defenders of subsidies -- including such likely GOP presidential candidates as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty -- say they won't let them go down without a fight.

"If you create a cliff, you're going to create a significant job loss in rural America," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told a Senate panel Wednesday of a plan to abruptly end the tax credit.  Vilsack estimated 400,000 workers connected to the ethanol industry could be affected nationwide.

Industry lobbyists say reducing government support for ethanol production will also undermine efforts to reduce dependence on foreign oil, since deep-pocketed oil companies dominate the market and receive lucrative government subsidies of their own.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Sen. Coats: Put Taxes, Ethanol Subsidies ‘On the Table’

Office of the United States Senator Dan Coats(WASHINGTON) -- House and Senate Republican leaders have made clear that tax increases can’t be part of the discussion over deficits and debt that President Obama had hoped to galvanize with a speech Wednesday afternoon.

But several rank-and-file Republicans in Congress are striking a different tone, casting taxes not as their preference but as something they need to invite into the discussion if they’re going to actually get something done in talks with the White House and Democrats in Congress.

Asked whether taxes should be part of the discussion over the deficit -- as the president has insisted -- Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., told ABC News: “Everything on the table.”

Reforming the tax code, Coats said, “has to be part of this package.” And the conversation needs to be broader, he said, even though he doesn’t want taxes overall to be any higher.

“Am I open to looking at the tax code? Absolutely. I'm part of a plan to do that. I'm glad the president is joining us. But I hope it's not just simply to raise taxes and raise revenue because the problem is spending, not taxes.”

Coats said he would also be willing to discuss phasing out subsidies for oil production and ethanol -- tax breaks he’s fought to maintain in the past.

“I said everything is on the table. And that includes ethanol, that includes oil subsidies. We have got -- I'm elected here to come to Washington to make the tough decisions. And even though they go against the political grain of things, no pun intended there regarding ethanol there -- I've talked to ethanol people. I've said that this is something that's got to make economic sense.”

“We may need phase down to the point where it does that. And I'm willing to put that on the table and have an honest discussion about it.”

Coats said he would vote for House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget plan. But he stopped short of an outright endorsement, saying he would also vote for other plans that he considers worthwhile contributions to the discussion.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 

ABC News Radio