DNC - Senator McCain Watch: 2008 Iowa State Fair: John McCain Scavenger Hunt Edition

McCain's Opposition To Iowa Priorities Shows McCain Is Out Of Touch With Iowa

Washington, DC - As you make your way through the 2008 Iowa State Fair, keep an eye out for some of the things you might not see if John McCain were President. Whether it's McCain's fervent opposition to the Farm Bill, his lack of support for ethanol, or his consistent votes against renewable energy programs including wind power, the Iowa State Fair is an ideal look at what's at stake in this election.


McCain Said As President, Would Veto Current Farm Bill. Speaking at a town hall in Iowa, McCain said, "I do not support it. I would veto it. I would do that because I believe the subsidies are unnecessary and I do not believe we should have tariffs against imported products." McCain added, "I just thought I'd start out with that non-controversial statement." [Des Moines Register, 5/1/2008]

McCain Would Veto Farm Bill "In a New York Minute." "We are, we are now have a Farm Bill that's winding its way through the Senate and the House of Representatives which protects sugar. Why should we do that, when, when we have - see and increasing in cost of food, and particularly those, including those that have sugar in it. Why shouldn't we, uh why should we raise protectionist barriers to sugar into this country. And why should we pay farmers who make as much as nine-hundred thousand dollars a year additional tax dollars of yours and mine. If I were the President of the United States I would veto that Farm Bill in a New York minute." [CNN Live Feed (Charlotte, NC), 5/5/2008]

Farm Bill Includes Important Disaster Relief. The farm bill authorizes a "$3.8 billion disaster relief fund for farmers and ranchers." [Reuters, 5/15/2008]

Farm Bill Authorizes Important Conservation Programs. The farm bill includes $1.1 billion in funding for the Conservation Stewardship Program, "a green payment scheme that pays farmers who practice land, water and wildlife conservation on working lands." There is also $1.3 billion included for Wetlands Reserve. [Reuters, 5/15/2008]

Biofuels Get Boost in Farm Bill. The farm bill "provides $300 million in mandatory funding for payments to support production of advanced biofuels including cellulosic ethanol and biodiesel." There is also "$250 million in grants and loan guarantees for renewable energy and energy efficiency systems for agriculture and rural small businesses." [Reuters, 5/15/2008]


2007: McCain Opposed Legislation Extending The Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit; Recent Study Concluded More than 116,000 Jobs Could be Lost If the Tax Credit is Not Extended. John McCain supported the filibuster of the 2007 energy bill that included an extension of the production tax credit to 2011. While McCain missed the vote to on the bill, according to his staff he did, in fact, support the continuing the filibuster, which eventually killed the bill. In its place, Congress passed another version of the legislation that did not include an extension of the tax credit. A 2008 economic study by Navigant Consulting found that "over 116,000 U.S. jobs and nearly $19 billion in U.S. investment could be lost in just one year if renewable energy tax credits are not renewed by Congress. The study concluded that over 76,000 jobs are put at risk in the wind industry, and approximately 40,000 jobs in the solar industry." [HR 6, Vote 425, 12/13/07, Failed 59-40: R 9-39 D 48-1 I 2-0; Forbes, 12/13/07; U.S. News & World Report, 12/14/07; American Wind Energy Association and the Solar Energy Industries Association press release, 2/4/08]

Las Vegas Review-Journal: Legislation McCain Opposed Included Investment Set To Expire Next Year For Generators Of Geothermal, Wind And Solar Power. "Compromises that won passage for a major energy bill in the Senate this week left investors for geothermal, wind and solar resources out in the cold. After a long struggle, the Senate passed the bill late Thursday. It increases vehicle fuel mileage standards and encourages energy efficiency in federal buildings and in electricity-guzzling appliances. The House is expected to take a final vote next week. But passage was assured only after negotiators removed provisions that would set a requirement that 15 percent of electricity come from renewable sources by 2020. Also gone were extensions for investment and production tax credits set to expire next year for generators of geothermal, wind and solar power. 'From the standpoint of renewable energy, the compromises were certainly a missed opportunity, and they were out of step with much of the support we get from across the country,' said Gregory Wetsone, director of government affairs at the American Wind Energy Association." [Las Vegas Review-Journal, 12/15/07]

San Francisco Chronicle: Legislation McCain Opposed Also Sought Eliminate Tax Cuts for Oil Companies and Instead Fund Tax Incentives for Renewable Energy. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the 2007 energy bill that McCain opposed "would have revoked $13.5 billion in tax breaks from the five largest oil companies. The money would have been redirected into tax incentives for solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, wave energy and other renewables. Consumers would have received a $3,000 tax credit for buying an electric plug-in hybrid and a tax credit of up to $4,000 for installing solar panels to power their homes. But the measure failed on a 59-40 vote, falling one vote shy of the 60 votes needed to end debate and move the bill forward." [2007 Vote 425, 12/13/07; The San Francisco Chronicle, 12/14/07]

2006: McCain Voted Against Extending The Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit And Over $290 For Renewable Energy Research. McCain voted against an amendment to extend the renewable energy production tax credit and clean renewable energy bonds programs for four years including $290 million for renewable energy R&D on Solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, hydropower. [2006 Senate Vote #42, 3/14/2006]


1998: McCain Sponsored an Amendment to Kill Ethanol Subsidies After 2000. McCain sponsored an amendment to prohibit extension of ethanol subsidies from 2001-2007. According to McCain's press release, "The amendment strikes the Finance Committee amendment that extends for an additional seven years the tax credits for ethanol and methanol producers. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated lost revenues total $3.8 billion. McCain's amendment would have allowed the existing subsidies to continue through the year 2000 but would have eliminated the seven-year extension." [S.AMDT.1968 to S.1173, 3/11/98; McCain Senate Press Release , 3/11/98]

1998: McCain Called Ethanol "Inefficient" and a "Prime Example of Corporate Pork." McCain stated in March 1998, "Ethanol is an inefficient, expensive fuel." He further claimed, "If ever there was a prime example of corporate pork, the unnecessary, inequitable ethanol subsidy program is it." [McCain Senate Press Release , 3/11/98]

1999: McCain Said Ethanol Subsidies Are "Not Worth It." During a 1999 Presidential debate in Iowa John McCain said, "Ethanol is not worth it. It does not help the consumer. Those ethanol subsidies should be phased out." [Des Moines GOP Primary Debate, 12/13/1999]

2000: McCain Said Ethanol Should Be Phased Out. During his 2000 campaign, McCain called for eliminating the "corporate welfare doled out to" ethanol grants, and stated "ethanol is not right, the subsidies should be phased out." [Houston Chronicle, 2/11/2000]

2003: McCain Voted To Allow The President To Waive Ethanol Requirements. McCain voted for an amendment to the 2003 Energy Policy Act allowing the President to waive ethanol requirements if the administration has determine that the requirement resulted in an increase in average cost of gasoline to end users in a State or region of 10 cents per gallon or more. McCain: Y [2003 Senate Vote #206, 6/4/2003]

2004: McCain Voted Against Tax Credits For Ethanol; Measure Also Banned MTBE In Four Years. McCain voted against moving forward on an amendment to the 2004 Internet Access Tax bill that banned methyl tertiary ether (MTBE) in four years, eliminated, 270 days after enactment, oxygen requirements under Clean Air Act and established a renewable fuel standard requiring use of 3.1 billion gallons of renewable fuels in 2004, increased to 5 billion gallons in 2012. The amendment also established a credit trading program, increased credit to 2.5 gallons of renewable fuel for the use of cellulosic biomass (ethanol) derived from agricultural residue and included no liability protection for either MTBE or ethanol. [2004 Senate Vote #73, 4/29/2004]

2005: McCain Voted To Strike The Renewable Fuel Mandate, Including Ethanol, From 2005 Energy Policy Act. McCain voted in support of an amendment to the Energy Policy Act of 2005 striking the renewable fuel (ethanol) mandate from underlying amendment. [2005 Senate Vote #138, 6/15/2005]

2008: McCain Supports Eliminating Ethanol Subsidies And Tariffs On Imported Ethanol. When explaining his economic plan, McCain said, "Become--make it a national priority to--for energy independence." Later, he says, "But I'll tell you what, I would eliminate ethanol subsidies. I would eliminate the tariff on imported ethanol… I'm for biofuels, I'm for all that stuff, but let's let the market play. Let's not subsidize ethanol or any other alternate form of energy." [CNBC, "Kudlow & Company," 4/15/08]


"Anheuser's stock price opened at $67.55 today, almost a 50% gain over the near $47 price in February when the possibility of a deal was made public. Cashing out could leave the McCains with hefty capital gains…" [Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire Blog, 7/14/08]


McCain Panders, Votes Against Grassroots Lobbying Reform Similar to What He Once Sponsored. McCain voted for the Bennett amendment to the Senate Ethics Reform Bill to strike provisions requiring that activist organizations which engaged in grassroots lobbying efforts had to report details of their activities and finances. "While grassroots groups on both sides of the political spectrum oppose the proposal, social conservative leaders such as Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, who broadcasts a radio program to hundreds of thousands of evangelical Christians, have been its most vehement critics. McCain sponsored legislation last Congress that included an even broader requirement for grassroots lobbying coalitions to reveal their financial donors." [The Hill, 1/18/07; S.Amdt.20 to S.1, Vote #17, 1/18/07, agreed to 55-43; R: 48-0, D: 7-43, McCain voted "Yea"]

McCain's Flip-Flop on Immigration. Though once McCain, through his Kennedy-McCain immigration reforms, "want(s) to allow undocumented workers who participate in a guest worker program to be able to stay in America and apply for permanent residency or citizenship after paying fines and satisfying other requirements." [Los Angeles Times, 11/29/05] Now, "Republican presidential hopeful John McCain on Thursday backed a scaled-down proposal that imposes strict rules to end illegal immigration but doesn't include a path to citizenship...Among other things, the bill makes being in the country illegally a criminal misdemeanor and toughens penalties for re-entering after being deported." [AP, 8/2/07]

John McCain Voted For Bush Tax Cuts And Defended The Flip-Flop As A Legislative Gimmick. John McCain voted to extend tax cuts supported by the president that were set to expire between 2005 and 2010. "The Senate voted 53-47…in favor of extending the president's investor tax cuts on dividends and capital gains. Joining in this breakthrough vote was John McCain, the senator who voted against these tax cuts when they were introduced in 2003. This is an important shift for the GOP presidential frontrunner[.]" McCain's vote was described as "a sharp reversal of his anti-tax-cut posture," though he defended the shift, saying, "it was a gimmick," reasoning that "the tax cuts were temporary and then had to be made permanent. The tax cuts are now there and voting to revoke them would have been to--not to extend them would have meant a tax increase. I've never voted for a tax increase in my life." [Senate vote #10, H.R. 4297, 2/2/06, passed 66-31; New York Times, 2/21/06; Washington Times, 3/6/06; NBC News, 4/2/06