Idaho Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch joined the majority of their colleagues on both sides of the aisle to eliminate billions of dollars in ethanol subsidies. The 73-27 vote calls for an end to the 45-cent-per-gallon subsidy the government gives to refiners and the 54-cent-per-gallon tariff on imported ethanol.
The measure still faces some opposition, in particular from the White House.
"We need reforms and a smarter biofuels program," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "But simply cutting off support for the industry isn't the right approach."
The bipartisan vote came at a critical time when both the Senate and House look for significant cuts to federal programs. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, voicing support for the repeal, also asked his colleagues to end government financial breaks for big oil.