Yesterday, the Bush Administration sent its 2009 budget up to Congress, and it did not include changes to the U.S. ethanol import tariff.

The budget year begins Oct. 1, and the tariff is set to expire at the end of December 2008.An Administration spokesperson said Bush would discuss what should be done with the 54-cent-a-gallon tariff with lawmakers later this year.

Subsidies that support corn-based ethanol production have been blamed for soaring feed grain costs and even retail food costs. Rising corn prices have certainly increased meat production costs. Some farm-state congressmen, however, support the subsidies. A tariff extension through 2010 was included in the Senate version of the Farm Bill, which is now working its way through the House/Senate conference committee.

Just last week, U.S. Energy Secretary Sam Bodman hinted that the Administration might address cutting back the tariff in its 2009 budget.