The U.S. Senate voted 51-49 today against proceeding to final passage of S. 782, a bill which would increase spending on a Great Society-era community activist government slush fund. No signer of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge voted for cloture. Therefore, all Pledge signers kept faith with their constituents and voted not to raise taxes (for more on this, see our statement from this morning).
The Senate Republican leadership wanted senators to be able to vote on several amendments to improve the bill. Chief among these was an amendment by Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) which would end the ethanol mandate and kill the death tax. When paired with the Feinstein-Coburn amendment (passed last week) which eliminated the ethanol tax credit and tariff, these two mendments would have gotten the government permanently out of the ethanol preference business.
Without the DeMint amendment, S. 782 was a triple loser for taxpayers:
- It spent taxpayer dollars on liberal community activist groups emulating ACORN
- It ignored the ethanol mandate. The ethanol mandate is the true impetus spurring non-free market ethanol consumption, since it alone is responsible for most government-induced production of ethanol.
- S. 782 as amended would have been scored by the Joint Committee on Taxation as a net tax increase, giving even more money to the Appropriation Committees to spend on Obama's super-sized government.
ATR stands ready to support the DeMint amendment if and when Senator Reid decides to bring it to a vote. Only the combination of the Feinstein-Coburn amendment and the DeMint amendment kills the government preference regime for ethanol production without raising net taxes.