Hundreds of President Trump’s nominees are stuck in limbo – or more accurately, stuck in the Senate.
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., minority leader and field marshal of the left-wing Resistance, has paralyzed the deliberative process, cynically requiring a full 30 hours of debate for non-controversial nominees who end up being confirmed 100-0.
The leftist Resistance is determined to torpedo Trump by any means possible, and that includes holding up the lieutenants who would demolish the administrative state and drain the swamp.
But a number of nominees are collateral damage in another fight unrelated to the Resistance. And it’s not just Democrats doing the shooting.
Thanks to the Senate’s arcane rules and traditions, a senator can block a nominee or piece of legislation from coming to a vote by “placing a hold.” Essentially, senators can take a nominee as hostage until their terms are met.
And that’s exactly what’s happening to a growing number of the president’s men.
The impetus for this Senate hostage-taking is ethanol, a biofuel made from corn.
The federal government requires that ethanol be blended into gasoline sold at the pump, and the EPA sets a target, known as the Renewable Fuel Standard, mandating just how much ethanol must be added.
Ethanol producers, grain traders and Midwestern corn farmers want the EPA to mandate the use of as much ethanol as possible in order to increase the market for their product.
As WND has reported, large global oil giants who have the equipment to blend fuel as well as refine it can easily comply with the renewable fuel standard. But small independent refiners in places like Pennsylvania and Texas lack blending facilities and are getting fleeced. They are forced to buy ethanol “credits,” chits whose price has soared as the government mandates the use of more ethanol than the market can absorb.
This has set the table for the biggest food fight since “Animal House.”
When word got out that the EPA was considering reducing the Renewable Fuel Standard, threats from Midwestern senators started to fly.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the powerful Judiciary Committee, said “plenty of senators” would hold up the president’s EPA nominees unless the agency backed off the plan. His colleague Sen. Jodi Ernst, R-Iowa, piped in, saying she’d have trouble approving the nominees.
Then Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., placed a hold on two of President Trump’s EPA nominees, Michael Dourson, slated to run the EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, and Bill Wehrum, candidate to head the agency’s clean air office. Duckworth slammed Wehrum for his “record of opposing the Renewable Fuel Standard.”
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, responded by placing a hold on Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey’s nomination to a top post at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Cruz has long been an outspoken opponent of ethanol, and Texas has more oil refineries than corn farmers.
President Trump promised to support ethanol during the campaign, and King Corn’s footmen want to hold him to that promise.
Trump also pledged to reduce our trade deficit and revive beleaguered Rust Belt industries. This was key to his winning Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin – and the presidency.
Fortunately, there is a way the president can make good on all these promises.
The biofuels program was established to promote the use of renewable fuels such as ethanol. But under EPA regulations, exports don’t count toward meeting the proposed 2018 goal of 19 billion gallons of ethanol.
This makes no sense, since pollution knows no borders – burning cleaner fuels anywhere will ultimately effect air quality everywhere in the world. And if, as we are constantly told, we are part of a global economy, does it matter if the ethanol made in America is burned in South Carolina or South America?
By changing its regulations, the EPA can promote the production and export of ethanol.
That would boost markets for ethanol, help corn farmers and refinery workers, shrink the trade deficit and free the president’s nominees being held hostage by the Senate.