Grassley pleased with Northey confirmation, but no White House ethanol deal
Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said Tuesday he is pleased the Senate confirmed Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey as Agriculture undersecretary for farm production and conservation, but that no deal was reached in a White House meeting on ethanol that included Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who had lifted his hold on Northey.
“Today Senator (Joni) Ernst (R-Iowa) and I met with President (Donald) Trump, Senator Cruz, Senator (Pat) Toomey (R-Pa.), EPA Administrator (Scott) Pruitt, USDA Secretary (Sonny) Perdue and White House staff. I reminded President Trump of his commitment to maintaining 15 billion gallons a year of ethanol under the RFS, and his commitment to biofuels, agriculture and rural America,” Grassley said in a news release.
“No deal on RFS reform was reached at the White House meeting,” he added. “And no assurances or commitments were made to change the RFS ahead of the meeting. Senator Ernst and I attended the meeting because we are always willing to meet with our colleagues to engage in good-faith discussions on any topic, especially when the president is involved.
“I understand the president is concerned any time an American’s job could be lost. I am, too, which is why I strongly support the U.S. biofuels industry, which 50,000 Iowans depend on for their livelihoods. But ethanol isn’t just important to Iowa. It’s important to 14 other states in the Midwest, and to our national security.
“I’m glad that the unrelated hold on Bill Northey was lifted, and he has been confirmed by voice vote. Bill Northey’s nomination to USDA has never had anything to do with a program administered by EPA. Secretary Northey is a highly qualified and honorable man. He and his family waited long enough. I’m looking forward to Secretary Northey’s swearing-in so he can get to work for American agriculture and farmers.”