Senate ethanol battle heats up with dueling bills

“When crude oil is more than $90 a barrel, there will be no blenders’ credit. When crude oil is $50 and below, the blenders’ credit will be 30 cents. The rate will vary when the price of crude is between $50 and $90 a barrel,” according to Grassley’s office.

The bill would also extend through 2016 tax credits for installing ethanol infrastructure at gas stations, but modify them somewhat.

Credits for cellulosic ethanol producers and the depreciation allowance for cellulosic biofuel plant property would also remain through 2016, while the import tariff would continue at reduced levels.

“Affordable energy is a major concern for Americans, and Congress needs to keep energy security on the front burner. Now more than ever, it’s time to ramp up production of traditional energy sources here at home and to expand alternative fuels and renewable energy sources,” Grassley said in a statement on the bill, which also drew praise from ethanol industry trade groups.

The other sponsors are Sens. Tom HarkinThomas (Tom) Richard HarkinOrrin Hatch, ‘a tough old bird,’ got a lot done in the Senate Democrats are all talk when it comes to DC statehood The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (D-Iowa), Mike JohannsMichael (Mike) Owen JohannsFarmers, tax incentives can ease the pain of a smaller farm bill Lobbying World To buy a Swiss company, ChemChina must pass through Washington MORE (R-Neb.), Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharOvernight Cybersecurity: Bipartisan bill aims to deter election interference | Russian hackers target Senate | House Intel panel subpoenas Bannon | DHS giving 'active defense' cyber tools to private sector Pawlenty opts out of Senate run in Minnesota Nielsen says 'possible' Trump used vulgar language in meeting MORE (D-Minn.), Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenPawlenty opts out of Senate run in Minnesota EMILY’s List president: Franken did 'right thing for Minnesota' Dem pledges to ask all court nominees about sexual harassment history under oath MORE (D-Minn.), Tim JohnsonTimothy (Tim) Peter JohnsonCourt ruling could be game changer for Dems in Nevada Bank lobbyists counting down to Shelby’s exit Former GOP senator endorses Clinton after Orlando shooting MORE (D-S.D.) and Ben Nelson (D-Neb.).

The bill comes a day after ethanol opponents Sens. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinDHS chief takes heat over Trump furor NSA spying program overcomes key Senate hurdle Democrats will need to explain if they shut government down over illegal immigration MORE (D-Calif.) and Tom CoburnThomas (Tom) Allen CoburnRepublicans in Congress shouldn't try to bring back earmarks Republicans should know reviving earmarks is a political nightmare Former GOP senator: Trump has a personality disorder MORE (R-Okla.) united around a bill to end the blenders’ credit and the import tariff. They had previously offered competing plans. Co-sponsors include Sens. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinCongress should take the lead on reworking a successful Iran deal 'Fix' the Iran deal, but don't move the goalposts North Korea tensions ease ahead of Winter Olympics MORE (D-Md.) and Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrNSA spying program overcomes key Senate hurdle Senate Intel chairman: No need for committee to interview Bannon McConnell: Russia probe must stay bipartisan to be credible MORE (R-N.C.).

Feinstein argues the ethanol industry is awash in billions of dollars in unnecessary subsidies.

“Ethanol subsidies and tariffs sap our budget, they’re bad for the environment, and they increase our dependence on foreign oil. It’s time we end subsidies that we cannot afford and tariffs that increase gas prices,” she said in a statement Tuesday.

Feinstein’s office argues the blenders’ credit is unneeded given the national renewable fuels mandate ensures a market, and that the tariff increases reliance on oil imports by raising the price of imported ethanol.