Northey Confirmed But No White House Deal on RFS

Cindy Zimmerman

Bill Northey is at last free to take the job at USDA that he was nominated for almost six months ago after Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) lifted his hold on the nomination and allowed the confirmation Tuesday. The Senate confirmed Northey on a voice vote to become USDA’s undersecretary for farm production and conservation as Sens. Cruz, Pat Toomey (R-PA), Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst of Iowa met with President Trump to discuss changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

“We feel better today because we have Bill Northey,” said National Corn Growers Association president Kevin Skunes of North Dakota during a press conference at the kick off of the 2018 Commodity Classic in Anaheim Tuesday. “We believe there was no deal struck at the White House meeting.”

Audio file: NCGA Classic press conference

Suffice it to say, every agricultural group in the country is happy to see Bill Northey approved and hopes that means the rest of the jobs at USDA can be finally be filled. Ethanol organizations are also pleased that Sen. Cruz released his hold without any apparent deal that would undermine the RFS. “The general assessment so far is there is no deal, there’s going to be continued conversation,” said Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) president and CEO Bob Dinneen.

Audio file: Gaggle with RFA CEO Bob Dinneen

Growth Energy Senior Director of Government Affairs John Fuher was also pleased to hear there was no deal made during the White House meeting. “Our senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst really stood up for us and really presented an alternative case,” said Fuher.

Audio file: Interview with John Fuher, Growth Energy

President Trump has reportedly called for another meeting on Thursday with representatives from the ethanol and refinery industries.

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