Ted Cruz hit back this morning against Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, who has called on Republicans to caucus against Cruz tomorrow. Appearing on Meet the Press, Cruz said Branstad’s ”son is a lobbyist who makes hundreds of thousands of dollars on lobbying ethanol.”
“His family makes a ton of money” from federal subsidies on ethanol, Cruz continued. “The lobbyists very much want to keep Iowa focused on the ethanol mandate because it keeps Iowa dependent on Washington — means every year they’ve got to go back to Washington and maintain the mandate, the lobbyists get paid, the politicians get paid.”
“I’m going to eliminate all the subsidies, no subsidies for oil and gas, no subsidies for anybody,” Cruz said. ”But the other piece that is very important and that’s resonating is I’m going to also tear down the EPA’s ethanol blend wall, which means make it legal to sell mid-level blends of ethanol and that in turn can expand ethanol share of the marketplace by 60 percent but not based on mandates or subsidies based on the free market. And that message is resonating.”
Cruz, countering host Chuck Todd’s line of questioning that removing the subsidies hurts average Iowans, said his ethanol policy is growth-oriented:
Right now ethanol is banging into the RFS [renewable fuel standard]. It’s essentially the blend wall is a cap. As people in Iowa know, as I’ve travel around and do town halls, ethanol’s not expanding its market share because the EPA is preventing it from doing it. By the way, no other candidate has pledged to remove the blend wall. No other candidate is focusing on the future for ethanol. And you know someone who joined me on my bus tour across the state, fellow named Dave Vander Griend, he built more than half of the ethanol plants in the state of Iowa. He’s the one who estimates that you could see a 60 percent market increase. You know who’s hurt by my plan? The lobbyists in Washington and the people who are helped are Iowa farmers and jobs here in the state of Iowa.