U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) at the 2015 Iowa Ag Summit in Des Moines. Photo credit: Dave Davidson (Prezography.com)
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) at the 2015 Iowa Ag Summit in Des Moines.
hoto credit: Dave Davidson (Prezography.com)

(Des Moines, IA) U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) was asked about his position on the Renewable Fuel Standard and ethanol during the Fox News/Google GOP Presidential Debate and he pointed to Congressman Steve King (R-IA) support of his campaign.

The Renewable Fuel Standard is a federal mandate that requires transportation fuel sold in the U.S. to contain a minimum volume of renewable fuels like ethanol that is produced in Iowa with corn. The RFS originated with the Energy Policy Act of 2005 signed into law by President George W. Bush and was expanded and extended by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA).  Cruz is against the mandate, but Iowa Governor Terry Branstad is in favor of the mandate, and had called on Iowans to defeat Cruz in Monday’s Iowa Caucuses.

Cruz stated during the debate, “God has blessed this country with enormous natural resources. We should be pursuing all of the above. We should be developing gas and coal and nuclear and wind and solar and ethanol and bio fuels, but I don’t believe that Washington should be picking winners and losers. I think there should be no mandates and no subsidies whatsoever,” Cruz answered.

“And indeed my tax plan which I’ve introduced, it’s available on our website, it is a simple flat tax for everyone, it will produce enormous economic growth and it eliminates every mandate and every subsidy so there is no subsidies for oil and gas, no subsides for anyone,” Cruz added.

“No it is true there are a bunch of lobbyists and a bunch of Democrats in this state spending millions of dollars trying to convince the people of Iowa that I some how oppose ethanol. That is not true. I introduced legislation that would phase out the ethanol mandate over five years, but that is in the context of having no mandates whatsoever for anyone and I would note there is a much more important regulation for ethanol and that is the EPA’s blend wall that makes it illegal to sell mid-level blends of ethanol and gasoline. I will tear down the EPA’s blend wall which will enable ethanol to expand its market share up to 60 percent all without mandates, all without any government mandates whatsoever, in the marketplace. And I’ll note finally Chris (Wallace) there is a reason that Iowa’s Congressman Steve King, perhaps the fiercest defender of farmers in this state is chairing my campaign because he understands that I am committed to a fair and level playing field for every energy source without lobbyists, without Washington picking winners and losers,” Cruz concluded.

King defended Cruz’s position in the spin room.

“This question he got tonight was legitimate, I’m glad it was asked. It clarified a lot of things for a lot people and I thought that his answer was drilled it very well. There wasn’t much time to deliver that answer and there were a a couple of things that I would have liked to have added to it,” King told Caffeinated Thoughts.

“For example Ted Cruz will use the Department of Justice to enforce anti-trust laws to ensure access to the market for ethanol. So the short way to analyze this is. He says phase down the RFS over five years well the RFS expires in five years anyway, that’s the trade off, but immediately it would open up the blend wall, the ten percent blend wall, we’d have a chance to market the E-25 or 30 as he said. And while that is going on there would be also be a directive that the tests in the lab would be legitimate that would allow ethanol to actually show what it can do out on the road and then make sure the market access is there,” King added.

“So I think in the long-term it’s a plus. I don’t have any doubt that Cruz’s ethanol plan over a period of a decade is a plus for our producers. In the short term, it’s a question of whether it’s a break even or whether it’s a little bit up or a little bit down in the short term,” King added.

Watch Caffeinated Thoughts full discussion with Congressman Steve King below:

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