The Senate adopted an amendment on June 16, by a vote of 73-27, to the reauthorization of the Economic Development Revitalization Act that would repeal both the ethanol blender’s tax credit and the import tariff on foreign ethanol.

Senators Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), the sponsors of the amendment, said during debate on the measure that the repeal of  blender’s credit–the 45 cents-per-gallon credit– would save $3 billion from now through its scheduled year-end expiration.  The tax credit is set to expire December 31, 2011.

Following the vote on the Coburn-Feinstein amendment, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) separately offered an amendment that would prevent federal funds from being used to build ethanol blend pumps or ethanol storage facilities.  McCain’s amendment failed.  However, identical language was offered and passed by the House by Rep. Jeff Flake  (R-AZ)  on the fiscal year 2012 Agriculture Appropriations bill by a vote of 283-128.

The measure will ultimately need to be attached to a House-numbered bill due to the constitutional requirement that all revenue measures originate in the House. Senate lawmakers need to hook the ethanol-related amendment to a must-pass House tax bill if it is to advance in Congress and eventually to the president’s desk.