Some Tuesdays I don't know what I would do without Sen. Charles Grassley.
The Iowa Republican said Tuesday in a call with reporters that supporters of the RFS are still trying to marshal opposition to the EPA proposed reduction to the Renewable Fuels Standard. He cited Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and the push to hold a daylong hearing Thursday in Des Moines despite no representation from the EPA.
"The Obama administration should have convened this hearing in Iowa as the congressional delegation and I think the governor as well asked them to do," he said. "But the Obama administration declined to do it, leaving it to Iowans to take matters into their own hands."
Grassley and Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., also are leading a bi-partisan Senate letter to EPA this week opposing the RFS change. Grassley said he expects a large number of senators from both parties to join the letter.
Grassley also said he doesn't think President Barack Obama will support the EPA's move. He cited the president's efforts to eliminate tax breaks for oil companies and other efforts critical of fossil fuels.
"I would think he would not want to give Big Oil a big victory, but that's what he's going to do," Grassley said.
Shoveling Off a Problem Provision
Discussing the farm bill, Grassley said the principal negotiators may take his language defining an actively engaged farmer out of the farm bill and leave it up to USDA to determine who is actively engaged. This Congress is filled with lawmakers who have criticized administrative rulemaking usurping congressional authority. Yet, farm-bill conferees now seem intent on turning over rulemaking to USDA to redefine who is actively engaged as a farmer.
"The people who want to shovel this off to the administration for rulemaking, they don't want anything," Grassley said. "They want to take it out. If they could get away with taking it out, they would just take it out ... They think they can accomplish the same thing by giving to the department and the department might not do anything very significant."
Grassley's actively engaged rule only allows one person designated as the farm manager. He noted the Government Accountability Office has cited instances of 16 people classified as "managers" for a single farm entity.
Grassley reiterated there was no need to change anything in the payment-limit provisions because they were the same in both the House and Senate bills.
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