After nearly four months of having the nomination of Iowa’s Bill Northey to the U.S. Department of Agriculture held up by Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) brought it up on the Senate floor Wednesday and called on other colleagues to back him up.
Northey was nominated to be USDA Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation in September and quickly confirmed by the Agriculture Committee, but Sen. Cruz put a hold on the nomination in October over the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and has refused to budge unless all stakeholders can meet together to agree on a “win-win” situation for both refiners and ethanol producers that would lower prices for Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs).
“Mr. Northey would have been confirmed long ago had the lobbyists for the ethanol industry been willing to come to the table and reach a commonsense solution,” said Sen. Cruz.
That struck a chord with Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “Mr. Cruz is also being callously misleading in suggesting representatives of the ethanol industry (including the RFA) have refused to meet to discuss the issue,” said Dinneen. “We have received no invitation to talk, only media reports of his cynical proposed solution to cap the price of RINs.”
Both Dinneen and Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor point out that there is a very simple solution to lower the price of RINs – allow E15 to be sold year round. “Sen. Ted Cruz has held Mr. Northey hostage as a means to drag out his so-called ‘negotiation’ to lower RIN prices, when all this time there has been a solution staring us in the face – RVP relief,” said Skor.
RVP relief is one of two offers Sen. Grassley has made to appease Sen. Cruz. The other is transparency for the RINs market.
Listen to good friends Sens. Grassley and Cruz disagree with one another on this issue.
Sens. Cruz and Grassley comments
Listen to Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) support Bill Northey.
Sens. Stabenow, Ernst and Klobuchar comments