An anti-ethanol coalition that spans conservatives, Pizza Hut franchises, and clean-air advocates is pressing House lawmakers to pare back the national biofuels mandate beyond what the Environmental Protection Agency has proposed.
A letter to senior House lawmakers Monday brings together over 30 advocacy groups and industry interests such as the Competitive Enterprise Institute, several grocery and meat industry groups, and the Clean Air Task Force.
The EPA floated a draft plan in November that cuts the amount of ethanol and other biofuels that must be blended into the nation’s motor-fuel supply in 2014. The proposal was a defeat for the ethanol industry and its Capitol Hill allies, who are now waging a campaign to reverse the EPA plan.
But the new letter to the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s bipartisan leadership from ethanol critics, led by the National Council of Chain Restaurants, says that EPA didn’t go far enough in restricting the “unworkable” ethanol mandate.
It says only Congress has the power to make big changes to the biofuels blending mandate that’s known as the renewable-fuel standard.
“[T]he proposed [EPA] reduction is small in percentage terms and would do little to decrease pressure on corn demand or lower ethanol’s share of U.S. annual corn production,” the groups state.
“At these volumes corn ethanol will continue to provide perverse incentives to overplant corn, distort commodity and energy markets, and wreak economic and environmental havoc,” states the letter signed by groups such as the American Frozen Food Institute, the National Grocers Association, the National Marine Manufacturers Association, Taxpayers for Common Sense, the International Pizza Hut Franchise Holders Association, and the National Turkey Federation.
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U.S. District Judge William Orrick Tuesday blocked the Trump administration from enforcing part of an executive order calling for the end of federal funding to so-called sanctuary cities. The decision was followed by a scathing rebuke from the White House, a precedent-breaking activity which with this White House has had no qualms. A White House statement called the decision an "egregious overreach by a single, unelected district judge." The statement was followed by an inaccurate Wednesday morning tweetstorm from Trump, which railed against the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. While Judge Orrick district falls within the jurisdiction of the Ninth Circuit, Orrick himself does not serve on the Ninth Circuit.
"House Republicans are circulating the text of an amendment to their ObamaCare replacement bill that they believe could bring many conservatives on board. According to legislative text of the amendment," drafted by Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ), "the measure would allow states to apply for waivers to repeal one of ObamaCare’s core protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Conservatives argue the provision drives up premiums for healthy people, but Democrats—and many more moderate Republicans—warn it would spark a return to the days when insurance companies could charge sick people exorbitantly high premiums."
President Trump on Wednesday "will order a review of national monuments created over the past 20 years with an aim toward rescinding or resizing some of them—part of a broader push to reopen areas to drilling, mining, and other development." Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke told reporters on Tuesday said he'd be reviewing about 30 monuments.
"An emerging government funding deal would see Democrats agree to $15 billion in additional military funding in exchange for the GOP agreeing to fund healthcare subsidies, according to two congressional officials briefed on the talks. Facing a Friday deadline to pass a spending bill and avert a shutdown, Democrats are willing to go halfway to President Trump’s initial request of $30 billion in supplemental military funding."
The Michael Flynn story is not going away for the White House as it tries to refocus its attention. The White House has denied requests from the House Oversight Committee for information and documents regarding payments that the former national security adviser received from Russian state television station RT and Russian firms. House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz and ranking member Elijah Cummings also said that Flynn failed to report these payments on his security clearance application. White House legislative director Marc Short argued that the documents requested are either not in the possession of the White House or contain sensitive information he believes is not applicable to the committee's stated investigation.