Grassley and Ernst to push for ethanol aid in coronavirus package
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said today that he and Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, will push for assistance to ethanol plants as Congress begins to develop another coronavirus aid package next week.
In a call to rural reporters, Grassley said that as he visited Iowa counties during the past two weeks of Senate recess, he had heard “voices” asking for ethanol assistance because the price of corn is still low.
“Ernst and I are going to try to get something that would subsidize feed stock” for the ethanol industry, Grassley said. He noted that “what will make our appeal credible” will be the oil industry getting help in this package or a recognition that the oil industry got help through the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
But Grassley added that the “long term hope” for the ethanol industry is that “the economy picks up and people start driving.”
“We are seeing a little shoot up in the production of ethanol but it will be a slow turn around,” Grassley said.
China made its largest-ever U.S. corn purchase in a single day recently, but it didn’t raise the price of corn much, Grassley noted.
The top priority of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is a measure to stop coronavirus-related lawsuits, he said.
The White House wants a “moratorium” on payroll taxes, Grassley noted, but the senator added he doubts that would be as quick a boost to the economy as another round of checks to most Americans.
Grassley said he believes there will be aid to agriculture in the coronavirus bill, but McConnell is determined to keep the cost of the next coronavirus aid package under $1 trillion.
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