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Effort to End Tax Credit for Ethanol Fails in Senate

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WASHINGTON — The Senate beat back a challenge to ethanol fuel subsidies on Tuesday in a demonstration of how the drive to cut the federal deficit can run headlong into a favored interest on Capitol Hill.

At the same time, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. expressed confidence about bipartisan talks aimed at producing a budget deal that would clear the way this summer for an increase in the federal debt ceiling. He predicted that lawmakers would have a proposal for “beyond $1 trillion” in savings by the Fourth of July recess.

“We are down to the really hard stuff,” Mr. Biden told reporters after the first of three meetings of the negotiators this week.

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