This was a vote on an amendment by Rep. John Sullivan (R-OK) prohibiting federal funds from being used to implement a new Environmental Protection Agency decision to allow the sale of gasoline with a higher proportion of ethanol. This amendment was offered to a continuing resolution funding the federal government through September 2011, and cutting $61 billion in federal funding for many government programs.
Sullivan urged support for his amendment: “Despite alarming consumer, environmental and economic concerns, the Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] has approved a 50 percent increase in the amount of corn-based ethanol allowed in gasoline used by cars and light trucks manufactured in the 2001 model year and newer. This is simply another attempt by the EPA to engineer ethanol mandates and drive ethanol subsidies forward….Quik Trip, a major gasoline retailer across the Midwest, which is headquartered in my hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma, offers an unconditional guarantee on every drop of gasoline they sell. Because of the lack of liability protection, they will be left on the hook if someone puts the wrong blend of gas in the wrong kind of car. That will open up a litigation nightmare.”
Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA) opposed the amendment: “Raising the limit will accelerate the use of renewable fuels made in the U.S. We are not importing this oil…As importantly, raising the limit will grow our economy here in the U.S., create about 136,000 jobs in the United states. This is oil that we are not importing from oversees and spending billions and billions of dollars with our military to defend the oil coming into this country. These are good-paying jobs; they are very excellent as far as jobs in rural America. They cannot be outsourced overseas….This is part of all of the above of energy independence for the United States. It's good for continuing investment in the renewable fuels, energy and for the rural parts of this country that need an awful lot of help these days.”
The House agreed to this amendment by a vote of 285-136. Voting “yea” were 206 Republicans and 79 Democrats. 105 Democrats—including a majority or progressives—and 31 Republicans—voted “nay.” As a result, the House agreed to an amendment prohibiting funds provided by a continuing resolution from being used to implement a new Environmental Protection Agency decision to allow the sale of gasoline with a higher proportion of ethanol.