U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) released the following statement today regarding the Senate's vote on his amendment to repeal the ethanol tax earmark and tariff. The Senate rejected the Coburn amendment by a vote of 40 to 59.
"The Senate's refusal to save taxpayers $3 billion by ending an ethanol subsidy the beneficiaries themselves don't want highlights the incompetence and dysfunction of this body. Many senators who opposed this policy refused to end it because Senate Democratic leaders were upset about being forced to take a tough vote. Instead of protecting taxpayers by reducing our deficit and lowering food prices, many senators chose to protect the desire of Senate leaders to avoid tough issues. Taxpayers obviously need to give the Senate another refresher course on who runs government," Dr. Coburn said.
"However, taxpayers should be encouraged that Republican senators overwhelmingly rejected the ludicrous argument that eliminating tax earmarks is a tax increase. Tax provisions should be examined on a case by case basis, not receive blanket amnesty. I'm proud so many of my Republican colleagues put common sense, good judgment, and free-market conservative economic principles ahead of political expediency," Dr. Coburn said.
"While I'm disappointed my amendment did not pass, taxpayers should remember that when I offered an amendment to defund the Bridge to Nowhere in Alaska in 2005 we lost that vote 82 to 15. Over time, however, the will of the people prevailed and Congress was forced to scale back this wasteful and corrupting practice. Today, the earmark favor factory is mostly closed. Only the tax division remains open. I'm confident this debate, and many more ahead, will expose the tax code for what it is -- an abomination that favors the well-connected over working families and small businesses. I'm hopeful that, sooner rather than later, debates like this will lead to the kind of deficit reduction agreement this country desperately needs," Dr. Coburn said.