The Ranking Member on the Senate's tax writing Finance Committee Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, isn't sounding hopeful lawmakers will write another tax bill before November. After renewal of the expired biodiesel credit failed to make it into the payroll tax-break extension, Grassley did not sound optimistic when asked about the chances for another tax package soon that would include the on-again-off-again biodiesel blender's credit that expired last year.
"Maybe nothing on taxes being done by the Finance Committee until after the election and that kind of depends on how the election goes," Grassley said. "But unless there is a movement to bring up all of the 50 provisions that sunsetted on Dec. 31, all at one time, I don't expect anything to be done for biofuels separately."
Grassley hopes maybe the jobs issue will galvanize a movement behind both the biofuels credit and the wind energy tax break.
"I'm kind of hoping that biodiesel and wind energy working together, and the fact that we don't want to increase unemployment, as maybe putting together a whole package of sunsetted tax provisions so we can get it done earlier rather than later," Grassley said.
Meanwhile, corn demand from ethanol is dropping as soaring gasoline prices depress gas and ethanol consumption. Grassley says the fight is on to preserve a subsidy for non-food based cellulosic ethanol.
"We need to continue the subsidy for cellulosic ethanol, that sunset so it has to be renewed," Grassley said. "We're not going to get the ethanol tax incentive bac, we have to fight big oil on their efforts to do away with the RFS, and we have to make sure there is no legislative or regulatory impediments to going to E15."
Grassley was not as concerned over rising exports of ethanol as the domestic market shrinks, citing the need to sell U.S. value-added products. Others see export pressure as symptomatic of too much reliance on grain for energy and the need to adjust the Renewable Fuel Standard.