Reid plans more ethanol votes next week

Feinstein, on the floor Tuesday, also held out the option of working out a compromise plan with Thune and Klobuchar “that would be the best of all worlds.”

“Whether we can do this or not, I don’t know, but I am certainly willing to try,” Feinstein said.

She did not vote for the Coburn amendment earlier Tuesday – which received 40 votes when 60 were needed – despite her work with Coburn on identical legislation to kill the subsidies.

Feinstein said on the floor that she had urged Coburn to withdraw the amendment, which she ultimately voted against.

Coburn drew the wrath of Democratic leaders when he used a surprise procedural tactic last week to force the vote. “I believe if it weren’t for the process, we would have 60 votes,” Feinstein said.

With more votes looming, advocates on each side will have days to make their case. One opponent of ethanol industry tax breaks said there’s more support for ending the incentives than the Senate displayed Tuesday.

“Today's vote was distorted by procedural dynamics and not reflective of support for substance of the amendment,” said Stephen Brown, a top lobbyist and counsel for the Texas-based refining company Tesoro Corp.

“Next week's vote will be the real deal,” he said.

--Alexander Bolton contributed to this report.