The last sentence in the economy section of the working draft of the Republican platform states, “The U.S. government should end mandates for ethanol and let the free market work.” In full committee, the co-chairman of the energy subcommittee attempted to strip the sentence from the economy section, arguing that statements on biofuel policy properly belong in the energy section.
Delegate after delegate spoke in turn against stripping the statement out. “This is a free-market issue,” Jeff Grossman of Oregon argued. Grossman said that when the latest round of ethanol mandates kicked in, food prices in Oregon went up and gas mileage went down. Several of his colleagues echoed his complaints.
Only one delegate defended ethanol mandates out of seven or eight who spoke. Strong Republican-Party opposition to ethanol mandates is new. President Bush still supports the mandated consumption of ethanol, which was enacted by a Republican Congress in 2005 and increased by a Democratic Congress with Republican support in 2007.
After so many of his colleagues spoke out against his amendment, the energy subcommittee co-chair respectfully withdrew it, and the statement stayed in the platform.