News

Biden Open to Options on Spending as Congress Takes Over

Source: By Nancy Cook, Laura Davison and Erik Wasson, Bloomberg • Posted: Monday, May 3rd, 2021

President Joe Biden’s $4 trillion vision of remaking the federal government’s role in the U.S. economy is now in the hands of Congress, where both parties see a higher chance of at least some compromise than for the administration’s pandemic-relief bill. The president at this point is open to various possibilities to pass his proposals, including breaking them into multiple bills, according to a White House official speaking on condition of anonymity. While the “American Families Plan” that twins social spending with individual tax hikes is a non-starter for Republicans, parts of the infrastructure-focused “American Jobs Plan” have been embraced by the GOP.

Warren Buffett Says Bad Leaders Pose Biggest Risk to Companies

Source: By Chip Cutter, Wall Street Journal • Posted: Monday, May 3rd, 2021

“You get a guy or a woman in charge of it—they’re personable, the directors like ’em—they don’t know what they’re doing. But they know how to put on an appearance. That’s the biggest single danger,” Mr. Buffett said. “I would rather throw a viper down my shirtfront than hire a compensation consultant,” Mr. Munger once said.

GM Spending on Mexico Electric Vehicle Plant Angers US Union

Source: By The Associated Press • Posted: Monday, May 3rd, 2021

An announcement by General Motors that it would invest more than $1 billion at a Mexican factory that will build electric vehicles has angered the United Auto Workers union. GM said Thursday in Spanish on its Mexican website that it would make the investment at its Ramos Arizpe plant, which will become its fifth factory to make battery-powered vehicles. Three others are in the U.S., with another in Canada.

The Iowa Legislature was supposed to be done by now. So what’s the holdup? Here are 7 unsettled issues

Source: By Stephen Gruber-Miller, Des Moines Register • Posted: Monday, May 3rd, 2021

Reynolds proposed a bill this year that would require Iowa truck stops, gas stations and convenience stores to offer fuel with higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel. But she and legislative leaders have acknowledged they may not get to a deal this year, as various industry groups continue to have concerns with the bill. “Unfortunately, I don’t get everything I want,” Reynolds told reporters Wednesday. “I try my hardest but it’s just a reality of the legislative process. So we won’t give up on it but if I can’t get it through we’ll continue to look for ways that we can continue to build the industry.”

The Puzzling Battle Over Ethanol in Iowa

Source: By Chris Clayton, DTN Ag Policy Editor • Posted: Monday, May 3rd, 2021

Having lived in Southwest Iowa and reported on the state as a journalist since 1998, ethanol’s growth has spurred the rural economy and kept farmers and other agribusinesses afloat. The steady supply of corn demand throughout the year, the expansion of commercial and on-farm bins, the outflow of the ethanol and the distilled grains — all of this has been buoyed by policies that promote renewable fuel. But Iowa’s Legislature is caught between the economic engine of renewable energy and the convenience stores that dot the landscape of the state as well — Casey’s, Kum & Go. With thousands of stores each, state lawmakers are probably more likely to have a convenience store in their district than an ethanol plant.

Greg Abel, Warren Buffett’s Heir Apparent, Led Berkshire Hathaway’s Renewable-Energy Push

Source: By Andrew Bary, Barron's • Posted: Monday, May 3rd, 2021

Buffett has called Berkshire Hathaway Energy one of the company’s “jewels” with annual earnings rising from $122 million in the 21 years that Berkshire has owned it. Before becoming CEO of the unit, Abel was president from 1998 to 2008, having joined the company in 1992. Berkshire Hathaway Energy has substantial wherewithal to make investments because unlike public electric utilities, which often pay out half of their profits to shareholders, it pays no dividends to Berkshire Hathaway. Berkshire Hathaway Energy has become one of the largest owners of renewable energy, with a portfolio of wind and solar electric generation capacity of nearly 12,000 megawatts at year-end 2020.

Carper urges tough US rules barring gas-powered cars by 2035

Source: By HOPE YEN and TOM KRISHER, Associated Press • Posted: Sunday, May 2nd, 2021

A top Senate Democrat is urging U.S. anti-pollution standards that would follow a deal brokered by California with five automakers and then set targets to end sales of new gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035, a goal that reaches farther than President Joe Biden’s climate plan. In a letter sent late Thursday to the Environmental Protection Agency, Delaware Sen. Tom Carper, who chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, says the administration must move forcefully in the auto sector to achieve Biden’s plan of slashing America’s greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030.

Rough road ahead for bill backed by Gov. Kim Reynolds mandating renewable fuel at Iowa pumps

Source: By Donnelle Eller, Des Moines Register • Posted: Sunday, May 2nd, 2021

Prospects appeared grim for legislation that would require Iowa truck stops, gas stations and convenience stores to offer fuel with higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel after a state Senate subcommittee heard Thursday from farm, fuel and transportation leaders who offered opposing views on the bill’s impact. Gov. Kim Reynolds and House Speaker Pat Grassley have acknowledged problems getting the bill passed in the Legislature’s waning weeks, even with intense efforts to reach a compromise.

Corn set for biggest monthly gain in more than two years

Source: By Reuters • Posted: Sunday, May 2nd, 2021

U.S. corn futures edged higher on Friday, as the grain was poised to post its biggest one-month gain in more than two years on global supply concerns. Soybeans were little changed, while wheat rose 0.5%. The most-active corn futures on the Chicago Board of Trade were up 0.2% at $6.49-3/4 a bushel by 0401 GMT, after closing up 0.7% lower on Thursday.

U.S. Farmers Look for Government Help to Support Biden’s Climate Plans

Source: By Jacob Bunge, Wall Street Journal • Posted: Sunday, May 2nd, 2021

A White House goal to slash U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions hinges in part on farmers and agriculture companies changing the way they manage fields and feedlots. The farm sector says it will need the government’s help to make it happen. President Biden has called for cutting U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions by 50% to 52% by 2030, compared with the baseline year of 2005. He said farmers could help achieve the goal—and benefit from it. In his speech Wednesday before Congress, Mr. Biden said farmers could be paid for planting cover crops that remove more carbon from the atmosphere.