Democratic Leader Calls for Ethanol in Tax Bill


A renewed tax break for blenders of ethanol should be included in tax-cut legislation being negotiated in Congress and the White House, a high-ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives said on Thursday.

"Let's bring ethanol to the table," said Representative James Clyburn, the third-ranking Democrat in the House.

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House Democrats are insisting that the terms of President Barack Obama's tax-cut plan, which he negotiated with Republicans, should be reopened. Besides ethanol, House Democrats are particularly upset with the Obama plan's tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans.

Senator Saxby Chambliss, the senior Republican on the Senate Agriculture Committee, told Reuters that extending the current 45 cents a gallon credit was the most likely outcome at the moment.

He said there was "back and forth" on the matter and that at one point, senators favored a two-year extension at 36 cents.

An industry source, who asked not to be identified, said a one-year extension at 45 cents was widely mentioned on Wednesday, but there was no final agreement.

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said the overall details of the tax-cut legislation would be unveiled on Thursday, with a possible vote on the bill on Saturday.

Earlier, a spokesman for the Renewable Fuels Association said there was no word on how long the extension would run or if the credit would be reduced.

Leaders of the House and Senate tax-writing committees have suggested a one-year extension, with the credit set at 36 cents. Nineteen of the 100 senators are on record in wanting to eliminate the credit.

"Meeting last night, lawmakers were reported to be ironing out the details -- the length of the extension and the value of the credit," said RFA in a statement. "As for timing, the RFA is hearing that final language could emerge today."