Home 5 Ag Stories Updated: Cruz keeps tight hold on Northey’s nomination

Updated: Cruz keeps tight hold on Northey’s nomination

Photo by Ben Nuelle

An Iowa senator claims “the RFS cynics are at it again.”

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) Wednesday filed for unanimous consent  to push Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey’s United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)  Undersecretary nomination forward. However, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) declined Senator Grassley’s motion, further delaying Northey’s confirmation.

Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), in a phone interview Thursday described Northey as the “most knowledgeable and passionate about farmers.” Dinneen believes Cruz’s hold on Northey is “unconscionable,” as his decision does not directly relate to Northey.

“I think Senator Cruz’s hold on his nomination is unconscionable,” Dinneen said. “Not only because Bill Northey would be a tremendous asset to the president, Secretary Perdue and farmers across the country, but because Cruz is seeking relief from a program that Bill Northey would have nothing to do with.”

Dinneen suggests Cruz is “callously taking advantage of Senate rules to obtain leverage with Senator Grassley, Senator Ernst and others defending the renewable fuels program to help a few independent refineries.” Dinneen argues the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) remains a tremendous success and sees no reason for change.

“He (Cruz) wants to relitigate legislation, passed in a bipartisan fashion in 2007, in a way that gives an advantage to a couple of independent refiners who have simply ignored the law, didn’t make the investments that they should have and now are trying to get Congress to accommodate their failed business strategy. I don’t changes need to be made,” Dinneen said.

Cruz claims a refinery in Philadelphia, PA which recently filed for bankruptcy proves the Renewable Fuels Standard harms refineries. Grassley’s staff further investigated these claims and found the RFS minimally impacts oil refineries’ success.

To view Senator Grassley’s memorandum, click here.