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Grassley, Ernst willing to meet with Cruz on biofuel

Photo by Ben Nuelle

Senators’ Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst say they are willing to meet with Texas Senator Ted Cruz about biofuel.

“I’ve made clear to Senator Cruz that I’m willing to meet with him, Ernst said in a statement Friday.  “Additionally, it’s my hope that Senator Cruz will release his hold on Bill Northey as his actions are misdirected, and his concerns have nothing to do with Bill.”

Grassley said the same thing. “Of course my office would meet with any senator who requests a meeting.” No meeting has been scheduled yet.

According to Agri-Pulse Daybreak, USDA’s hostage crisis is about to reach the two month mark Monday and it doesn’t look to end anytime soon.

Cruz placed a hold on Bill Northey’s USDA nomination back in October. He finally got his meeting with President Trump Thursday to talk about the RFS. Cruz said the meeting resulted in “meaningful steps” toward a solution to refiners’ concerns about the prices of biofuel credits, or RINs.

But when asked about whether he would lift his hold on Northey, Cruz wouldn’t respond. Northey is nominated for undersecretary of Farm Producition and Conservation.

A source familiar with what happened at the meeting tells Agri-Pulse the only agreement that came about was to discuss the issue with corn-state senators and then to try to come up with a mutually agreeable solution.

Cruz’s hold on Northey continues to be leverage, given that the ethanol industry got what it wanted when EPA finalized the 2018 usage mandates while the refiners’ petition to change the compliance requirements got rejected.

*Agri-Pulse staff contributed to this report.