The Republicans looking at a 2012 White House run do not have a consensus on how to deal with the $5 billion in ethanol subsidies corn farmers receive. It is a touchy issue because Iowa, the first state to weigh in on the race with a caucus, is rich in cornfields.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty, R-Minnesota, tested the waters during his campaign launch in Des Moines: “The truth about federal energy subsidies, including federal subsidies for ethanol, is that they have to be phased out. We need to do it gradually. We need to do it fairly.”
Two of his rivals have been supportive of the subsidy, according to The Daily Caller. dailycaller.com/2011/05/25/where-the-gop-2012-candidates-stand-on-ethanol-subsidies/ Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was for them during his 2008 presidential bid, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich supports them now.
“Given the choice, Gingrich would much rather have money going to Iowa farmers and the people who work to produce biofuels here in the United States than to unstable regimes in the Middle East, including those who seek to destroy us,” a Gingrich rep said.
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and Texas Rep. Ron Paul are both for getting rid of the subsidy.
Santorum, who just officially announced his run for the White House, would like to phase out the subsidy over the next five years: “Senator Santorum believes we should then invest 4.5 cents of that annual reduction in infrastructure for flex fueling stations to expand market access for biofuels,” said his spokeswoman.
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