Grassley Marks Policy, Oversight Accomplishments in 2017
(North Iowa Today) Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa marked a series of policy and oversight accomplishments in 2017. … Grassley introduced the Food Security is National Security Act of 2017, which would give top U.S. agriculture and food officials permanent representation on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). It would also include new agriculture and food-related criteria for CFIUS to consider when reviewing transactions that could result in control of a U.S. business by a foreign company, ensuring the U.S. has the tools and people it needs to safeguard the nation’s food security, food safety, biosecurity and bring security to Iowa farmers and the U.S. farm sector as a whole.
Energy: As a champion of renewable fuels and an all-of-the-above American energy policy, Grassley continued his extensive work to enact responsible energy policies in 2017.
Grassley introduced the American Renewable Fuel and Job Creation Act of 2017, legislation that would extend the biodiesel tax credit, a clean-fuel incentive, for three years and reform the incentive by transferring the credit from the blenders to the producers of biofuels. The switch would ensure that the tax credit incentivizes domestic production and taxpayers aren’t subsidizing imported fuel.
Much of Grassley’s 2017 energy agenda focused on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Grassley worked extensively with Senate colleagues, President Trump and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to find ways forward on renewable energies and fulfill congressional intent on the RFS.
Under new proposed rules, America’s commitment to biofuels would have been decreased, resulting in less renewable fuels being blended. In a letter earlier this year, Grassley and a bipartisan group of 23 senators urged President Trump to maintain the point of obligation under the RFS and reject changes that would upend the current successful system. In November, EPA announced it would maintain the point of obligation.
Grassley also sent a letter to EPA Administrator Pruitt asking him to support a strong RFS as the agency worked toward finalizing its rule on biofuels volume requirements for 2018 under the RFS. The letter urged the continued implementation of the RFS as intended by Congress and the release of a strong final rule that would give consumers more choices at the pump, strengthen the economy and make the country more secure.
Grassley continued to put pressure on the EPA by joining Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and a bipartisan group of 29 senators in a letter urging the agency to increase its proposed 2019 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) for biodiesel. The move would encourage growth in the industry and diversity in the nation’s energy supply.
Grassley joined a letter led by Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) to Pruitt asking him to examine a burdensome regulation that makes it more difficult to sell gasoline with ethanol content above 10 percent, such as E15, year-round. Grassley raised the issue to Pruitt’s attention when hosting a meeting with him and several senators from ethanol-producing states in January.
Grassley and other Midwestern senators received several assurances in a letter from Pruitt ensuring that the EPA would not follow through on a proposal that would have undermined the integrity of the RFS. The letter from Pruitt can be found here. This came after Grassley led several letters and meetings on the issue.
Grassley led a bipartisan group of senators urging U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to work with the Brazilian government to end a recently reinstated 20 percent tariff on ethanol imports in excess of 600 million liters (158 million gallons) annually. The United States is the primary exporter of ethanol into Brazil. U.S. producers called Brazil’s tariff plan “a trade barrier that threatens over $750 million in U.S. exports and American jobs.”
Trade: With Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Grassley introduced the United States Foreign Investment Review Act, which would to review foreign investments in the United States to ensure they are in the long-term economic interests of the U.S. READ MORE