Iowa Governor, Congressional delegation blast Cruz hold on Northey nomination

Source: By Ryan Matheny, KMA • Posted: Thursday, November 2, 2017

(Des Moines) — Iowa’s Governor and members of Iowa’s Congressional delegation are blasting a block on a confirmation vote for Iowa Ag Secretary Bill Northey to serve in the USDA.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz has put a hold on the confirmation in the Senate in response to pressure from Iowa’s Senators on the EPA to halt a proposal that would have reduced biofuel production mandates. Cruz told Politico this week that he is waiting for a meeting between EPA officials and other oil-state Senators. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds calls the maneuver by Cruz “disappointing.”

“I think it’s disappointing,” said Reynolds. “We were just asking them to stay true to what they told us when they were running and how they continued to talk to us about the importance of a robust Renewable Fuel Standard. Also, it was maintaining the what the statutory requirements were. I’m disappointed and I hope at some point he’ll pull back and Secretary Northey’s nomination can move forward.”

Third-district Congressman David Young tells KMA News Cruz should find other means of expressing his displeasure over the decision by the EPA.

“If Senator Cruz has an issue with the Renewable Fuel Standard and the EPA, then he should focus on holding up nominations to the EPA,” said Young. “Secretary Northey — with his post that he’s being nominated to at the USDA — has nothing to do with the Renewable Fuel Standard.”

Iowa Senator Charles Grassley says the pressure he and Senator Joni Ernst applied to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt was simply to hold the Trump Administration accountable to promises that were made on the campaign trail regarding the RFS.

“If Cruz had been elected president, we would expect him to have proceeded to do away with a lot of the benefits that ethanol has through the mandate of mixing ethanol with petroleum products,” said Grassley.

Young says he hopes Cruz will back off with his hold on Northey’s nomination.

“We were simply asking the EPA to comply with the law,” said Young. “So, I’m surprised that Senator Cruz would have an issue and do this with us just trying to get the EPA to comply with the law. It’s a rule of law issue for me. I know Senator Cruz is also a person that believes in the rule of law. Hopefully, he will release that soon and let Secretary Northey get on to the USDA and work on behalf of Iowans again.”

Rynolds says she does not plan to speak to Cruz directly.

“I talked to Senator Ernst and Senator Grassley, and they are colleagues of (Cruz),” said Reynolds. “I’ll let them visit with him. For right now, they are handling it.”

While on the presidential campaign trail, Cruz argued against a robust RFS, saying that it keeps Iowa dependent on Washington and the EPA to mandate production of ethanol and biodiesel.