Congressional Update

There was a lot going on last week, but most of Washington was focused squarely on Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s efforts to pass a House bill to address the debt limit. And while the Speaker made very clear his bill was not going to be open for negotiation, at the eleventh hour, he made a deal with members from the mid-west to retain some of the biofuel protections included in the Inflation Reduction Act. Because, if there’s one thing that unites mid-western republicans, it’s corn. While the Speaker’s debt limit bill is just messaging—especially as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) continues to remind everyone its dead-on-arrival in the Senate, it’s certainly an important marker for the Speaker to begin negotiations with the White House in earnest on the debt limit. Still, this isn’t the last time we’ll hear about the efforts of corn growers, as Congress must address the Farm Bill reauthorization at some point before September 30, and we expect a lot of back-and-forth horse trading on issues like these.

And while the House was focused on messaging, Nebraska Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE) had a legislative victory, with all Republican Senators (and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV)) voting to overturn the EPA’s December 20 rule on truck emissions standards. The EPA estimated that compliance with program would cost between $2,568 and $8,304 per vehicle and that the associated costs of the regulation would be $55 billion over the course of its implementation. Sen. Fischer’s office noted that “Adding new financial burdens on the trucking industry would increase the cost of any product transported by trucks, including food, clothing, and other commodities.”

In addition to the rolling back of that rule, member’s of the House Energy and Commerce Committee have written to the EPA regarding its proposed regulations Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) generated from renewable electricity (eRINs), urging the agency to reconsider its proposal, noting that the changes “risk disrupting the [fuel] market and increasing transportation costs for Americans.” It remains to be seen if the EPA will heed their warnings or even address their concerns, but we will continue to monitor for any new developments.