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 HarkinTom HarkinDo candidates care about our health or just how much it costs? The Hill's 12:30 Report Mark Mellman: Parsing the primary processes MORE (D-Iowa), Mike JohannsMike JohannsTo buy a Swiss company, ChemChina must pass through Washington Republican senator vows to block nominees over ObamaCare co-ops Revisiting insurance regulatory reform in a post-crisis world MORE (R-Neb.), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharDozens of senators push EPA for higher ethanol mandate Brother may I? Congress must reform senseless drug regulation Caution: drug competition not allowed MORE (D-Minn.), Al FrankenAl FrankenAl Franken says he would be Clinton's vice president if asked Poll: Sanders, Rubio most popular VP picks Bernie Sanders’s awkward return to the Senate MORE (D-Minn.), Tim JohnsonTim JohnsonFormer GOP senator endorses Clinton after Orlando shooting Housing groups argue Freddie Mac's loss should spur finance reform On Wall Street, Dem shake-up puts party at crossroads MORE (D-S.D.) and Ben Nelson (D-Neb.).

The bill comes a day after ethanol opponents Sens. Dianne FeinsteinDianne FeinsteinPost Orlando, hawks make a power play Ryan: No plans to vote on Democratic gun bills after sit-in Overnight Cybersecurity: Senate narrowly rejects expanding FBI surveillance powers MORE (D-Calif.) and Tom CoburnTom CoburnCoburn: I haven't seen 'self-discipline' from Trump McCain: No third-party foes coming for Trump Tough choice for vulnerable GOP senators: Embrace or reject Trump 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 CardinBen CardinGOP senators: Brexit vote a wake-up call Dems take over floor to protest Senate inaction on gun control Voinovich led charge against anti-Semitism MORE (D-Md.) and Richard BurrRichard BurrGun-control supporters plan next steps versus NRA GOP senator on ISIS: 'Take the fight to them' GOP senators: Brexit vote a wake-up call 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.