June 14, 2011 / 5:34 PM / 8 years ago

Senate blocks measure ending ethanol subsidies

A truckload of corn is dumped into a chute at the Lincolnway Energy plant in the town of Nevada, Iowa, December 6, 2007. REUTERS/Jason Reed

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A proposal ending U.S. ethanol subsidies failed a key vote in the Senate on Tuesday, falling far short of the support it needed to move forward.

The Senate voted 59 to 40 against limiting debate on the measure from Republican Tom Coburn that would have ended the federal ethanol tax credit and the tariff on ethanol imports before they are scheduled to expire at the end of year.

The vote comes as U.S. lawmakers are looking for ways to cut spending and as criticism mounts globally over subsidies for corn-based ethanol, blamed by some for pushing up food prices.

Facing strong opposition from farm state lawmakers and the ethanol industry, the measure was expected to have a difficult time garnering the 60 votes necessary to overcome a filibuster.

But with attacks on U.S. ethanol policy growing, some had speculated the vote might be close.

Prior to the vote, Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, said support for the measure was hurt by the rushed manner in which the amendment was brought to the Senate floor.

“I believe if it weren’t for the process we would have 60 votes,” said Feinstein, who co-sponsored a similar measure with Coburn.

Reporting by Ayesha Rascoe; editing by Sofina Mirza-Reid

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