The Senate will vote Thursday on repealing ethanol subsidies, just two days after Senate Democratic leaders led a filibuster on the issue over procedural grounds.
In a unanimous consent agreement announced Wednesday by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), votes will be held on an amendment by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) that would eliminate ethanol subsidies and tariffs and on an amendment from Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) that would prohibit federal funding for ethanol storage facilities and blender pumps. The amendments are being offered to an Economic Development Administration reauthorization bill, and both would need 60 votes for adoption.
The Feinstein provision essentially reprises an amendment by Sen. Tom Coburn that failed Tuesday to win a motion to end debate, 40-59. That amendment had the support of just six Democrats because leadership was upset at the Oklahoma Republican for hijacking the floor to get a vote. Feinstein’s measure is much more likely to get the 60 votes needed as a result.
It’s still not clear whether an amendment from Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) to eliminate ethanol mandates and the estate tax will get a vote. Anti-tax advocate Grover Norquist had tried to pair that amendment with Coburn’s, which Norquist considers a tax increase. He told Republicans that they would not be in violation of his no-tax-hike pledge if they voted for both amendments.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.