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Public Statements

Ethanol

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington DC

Mr. CHAMBLISS. Madam President, I rise today to speak about the amendment offered by my colleague, the Senator from Oklahoma, to the Economic Development Revitalization Act which would repeal the volumetric ethanol excise tax credit. His amendment is No. 436.

For months, there has been very heated public debate surrounding the blender tax credit for ethanol and the tariff on imported ethanol. Some of my colleagues advocate repealing ethanol tax incentives immediately, while others are adamantly opposed to changing course on tax policy that was enacted at the end of the last Congress and would extend these tax credits through the end of this year. Regardless, it is clear that Congress must make a decision on whether to reform the ethanol blenders tax credit and import tariff this year.

In my home State of Georgia, I see both the positive and the negative effects this tax policy has had. While it has spurred the growth of the ethanol industry, some say it has caused drastic increases in the price of corn-based feedstock.

A new study prepared for the upcoming G20 meeting shows that biofuel subsidies are directly related to food price volatility. I believe that because the credit is set to expire in December of this year and many ethanol producers have the credit embedded in their business plans, Congress should not immediately repeal the tax credit. When it expires at the end of this year--even though I have supported this tax credit for all the years I have served in both the House and the Senate--I think the time has come for it to end. If we tell the blenders today that at the end of this year this tax credit is going to expire, it needs to expire then. So I do not intend to support an extension of that tax credit beginning upon the expiration at the end of this year.

Regardless of where one stands on the underlying issue itself, I believe the amendment deserves to have a vote on its merits and not be blocked by procedural tactics. Because so much attention has been paid to the issue and because we have had such extensive debates, this amendment deserves an up-or-down vote, rather than being stopped by a filibuster. For this reason, I intend to vote in favor of the motion to invoke cloture on the amendment of the Senator from Oklahoma, and I encourage my colleagues to do the same.

I yield the floor.

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