Senator Grassley discusses RFS battle, Northey USDA nomination

WASHINGTON — Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says there are no new developments in the impasse between corn-state and oil-state senators over possible changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

Grassley says there have been no discussions, since before Christmas, regarding Texas Senator Ted Cruz’s concerns with the RFS. “We have asked the two segments to sit down and talk and get some understanding of each other’s position, as a next step,” Grassley told reporters on a conference call Tuesday.

Cruz has proposed helping oil refiners by placing a 10-cent cap on Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs). But Grassley says biofuels industry groups have made their position very clear to him. “The industry tells us that such a cap on RINs would be just catastrophic to ethanol, that it would be a no-go,” Grassley said, “and Senator (Joni) Ernst and I expressed that to Cruz.”

As for Cruz’s continued hold on Iowa ag secretary Bill Northey’s U.S.D.A. nomination, Grassley said it’s time to take a different approach. “We’re going to have to proceed separate from anything dealing with the RFS on Northey,” Grassley said. “Northey is entitled to an answer of when is he going to be dealt with in the United States Senate.”

Cruz has blocked a Senate vote on Northey’s nomination to be U.S.D.A. Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation. According to Grassley, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has committed to clearing the way for a Senate vote on Northey’s nomination. But there’s still no indication of when that might happen.

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