(AP) — A watershed moment for deficit reduction and energy policy.

That's the way Vermont's senior U.S. Senator is describing a vote in that body on Thursday to end ethanol tax subsidies. Sen. Patrick Leahy says the subsidies are costing taxpayers more than $5 billion a year.

The 73-member Senate majority voting to end the subsidies also include Vermont independent Bernie Sanders, who says the subsidies drive up prices for food by diverting corn for fuel production.

Leahy says the vote gives him hope that big tax breaks for oil companies may come to an end soon, too.

The Obama administration opposes the move to end the subsidies, with Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack saying the result may be job losses and greater dependence on foreign oil.

Source: Associated Press