Category Archives: US Senate

>Ethanol Suffers Rare Loss in Senate

>Wasn’t it just earlier this week that the Senate rejected the idea of ending subsidies for Ethanol producers? Evidently that rejection wasn’t the end of the debate and now by a large bi-partisan majority, the US Senate has by a vote of 73-27 decided that in the name of deficit reduction the country can no longer afford to give away $6 billion a year to an industry that hasn’t produced the savings at the gas pump that was expected when the tax breaks went into effect 3 decades ago.

The following excerpt is from a Wall Street Journal report that has just recently been posted online:

A bipartisan majority of the Senate voted Thursday to end more than three decades of federal subsidies for ethanol, signaling that other long-sacrosanct programs could be at risk as Democrats and Republicans negotiate a sweeping deficit-reduction deal.

The tax breaks, which now cost about $6 billion a year, had long been considered untouchable politically because of the power of farm-state voters and lawmakers. Iowa’s role as the site of the first presidential caucuses has further elevated the political potency of the biofuel.

The Senate voted to repeal a $6 billion tax credit for ethanol producers, a move that could signal the end of some federal subsidies as part of an eventual budget compromise. Joe White has details.

Presidential hopefuls made a quadrennial ritual of going to Iowa and pledging to support the tax breaks, tariffs and mandates that supported production of ethanol motor fuels from corn. This year, however, some Republican presidential candidates have pointedly refused to endorse ethanol tax breaks.

Thursday’s vote doesn’t by itself doom federal support for the corn ethanol industry. The House is expected to reject it on the grounds that changes to the tax code, under the Constitution, must originate there, and the White House says an outright repeal is too abrupt. But the 73-27 vote signals that in a time of fiscal challenges, programs that once appeared unassailable now could be vulnerable.

The ethanol vote was driven by a coalition of liberal lawmakers and fiscal conservatives—it was sponsored by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) and Tom Coburn (R., Okla.)—who want to end subsidies for wealthy interest groups before slashing social welfare programs. They were opposed by a bloc of farm-state lawmakers seeking to fend off the repeal or slow it down.

The Senate action could also open the door to attacks on other tax breaks, such as those benefiting oil companies, in the interest of deficit reduction. Republicans have been wary of doing so, but 33 Republicans joined 40 Democrats and Independents in supporting Thursday’s repeal, which has the effect of raising taxes on oil refiners….

You can read more by clicking ….Here

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Filed under biofuels, corn growers, ethanol subsidies, flex fuel, high gas prices, Oil industry, US Senate, Wall Street Journal

>Can the Grand Old (Tea) Party Win in November?

>Nice article written by John Nickles over at the about the sudden turn of events that has now made Democratic prospect for the November elections and retaining control of the US Senate much more likely thanks to Republican voters that chose extreme right-wing TEA Party backed candidates in Alaska, Delaware, Nevada and elsewhere over more mainstream GOP candidates:

Did the Tea Party movement just snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in Delaware?

In a word: Yes.

Just as wins by extreme right-wingers in Republican primaries in Nevada, Alaska and other states have renewed the hopes of Democrats in Senate races where they looked to be doomed, Delaware Republicans just ditched a seemingly certain November winner for a likely loser.

On a night when the Tea Party movement scored some big wins over candidates of the Republican establishment—in races for governor of New York and perhaps for New Hampshire’s open US Senate seat—the most dramatic victory for the frenzied right came in Delaware, where Tea Party heroine Christine O’Donnell upset Congressman Mike Castle for the party’s Senate nod.

Former White House political czar Karl Rove, who describes the Republican nominee for the US Senate from that state, Christine O’Donnell, as someone who “says a lot of nutty things,” was arguing that the GOP just lost a Senate race.

“We were looking at eight to nine seats in the Senate. We’re now looking at seven to eight in my opinion,” Rove said Tuesday night. “This is not a race we are going to be able to win.”

But consider those numbers: What Rove is saying is that, with the Delaware result, Republicans may have lost much more than the Senate race in a single state….

Read more >>> Here


Filed under Alaska, Delaware, enat, Karl Rove, Nevada, Republican Candidates, Tea Party, Tea Party candidate, The Nation, US Senate

President Obama’s Weekly Address: 3/20/10 Time for Action on Financial Reform for the Economy

As a key committee in the Senate takes up reforming the ways of Wall Street, the President lays down a marker: “I urge those in the Senate who support these reforms to remain strong, to resist the pressure from those who would preserve the status quo, to stand up for their constituents and our country. And I promise to use every tool at my disposal to see these reforms enacted: to ensure that the bill I sign into law reflects not the special interests of Wall Street, but the best interests of the American people.”

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Filed under financial oversight, financial reform, President Obama, US Senate, Wall Street, weekly address

Are Democrats "Dropping Like Flies"? Not Really

Political Wire

With news of four Democrats dropping their bids yesterday, ABC News says that Democrats “are dropping like flies.”

But Steve Benen notes that Republican retirements, at least for now, still outnumber Democratic retirements.

“In the House, 14 GOP incumbents have decided not to seek re-election, while 10 Democratic incumbents have made the same announcement… In the Senate, six Republican incumbents have decided not to seek re-election, while two Democratic incumbents have made the same announcement.”

“Among governors, several incumbents in both parties are term-limited and prevented from running again, but only three Democrats who can seek re-election — Parkinson in Kansas, Doyle in Wisconsin, and Ritter in Colorado — have chosen not to. For Republicans, the number is four — Douglas in Vermont, Rell in Connecticut, Crist in Florida, and Pawlenty in Minnesota. (Update: the GOP number is five if we include Palin in Alaska.)”

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Filed under Democrats, Governors race, political wire, Republicans, US House of Representatives, US Senate

President Obama’s Weekly Address: 2/07/09

In the weekly address for Saturday, February 7, 2009, President Barack Obama commends the progress the Senate has made on moving the recovery plan forward, and urged its completion.

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Filed under Economic Assistance and Recovery Plan, Economic Stimulus Package, President Obama, Senate Democrats, Senate Republicans, US House of Representatives, US Senate, weekly address

President Obama’s Weekly Address: 2/07/09

In the weekly address for Saturday, February 7, 2009, President Barack Obama commends the progress the Senate has made on moving the recovery plan forward, and urged its completion.

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Filed under Economic Assistance and Recovery Plan, Economic Stimulus Package, President Obama, Senate Democrats, Senate Republicans, US House of Representatives, US Senate, weekly address

>Obama warns Dems sacrifice necessary on stimulus


The Hill – Leading the News

WILLIAMSBURG, VA. — President Obama on Thursday told House Democrats to ask not what the economic stimulus plan can do for them, but what they can do to pass the economic stimulus plan.

Harking back to the themes of sacrifice laid out in his inaugural address, Obama, keynoting the House Democratic Caucus issues conference, called on Democrats to be prepared to yield on some of their priorities in order to get a near-trillion dollar stimulus plan onto his desk as soon as possible.

“This package is not going to be absolutely perfect,” Obama told a packed room of over 200 Democrats in Williamsburg, Va. “And you can nit and you can pick, you know that’s the game we all play here. You know how to play that game.”

“What I’m saying is, now we can’t afford to play it,” Obama continued.

The timing of the President’s remarks could not have been more apt. Since the House passed its $819 bill last week – without a single Republican vote – fractures in the Democratic caucus have only grown. Progressives began to balk at the addition of tax cuts and removal of certain spending items – done to placate Senate Republicans – while conservatives complained ever more forcefully about the total amont of spending in the bill.

In the Senate, Democratic leaders hope to have a vote on a different version of the stimulus on Friday. The Senate version is more than $900 billion, which has made centrists in both parties nervous.

In preparing the House to accept a final bill that may end up far different than the one they passed – and that Democratic leaders have forcefully defended — Obama called on Democrats to “not let the perfect be the enemy of the absolutely necessary.”

“We’ve got to pull together,” he continued. “They’re going to be some things that don’t get included that each of us would like to see. All of us are going to have to make some sacrifices. And we have to accommodate the interests of a range of people. And the House is going to have to work with the Senate.”

What changes the House may have to accept remain to be seen. The Senate added a one-year patch to prevent more middle class taxpayers from being hit by the Alternative Minimum Tax. The Senate bill also includes a $15,000 tax credit for home owners intended to spur on the housing market.

Read more >>>Here

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Filed under Alternative Minimum Tax, Democrats, Economic Assistance and Recovery Plan, House Democratic Causus, President Obama, Republicans, The Hill, US House of Representatives, US Senate