One of the Republicans in the race for the U.S. Senate is calling for the phase out of the government requirement that a certain amount of corn-based ethanol and other biofuels be produced each year. Matt Whitaker says he’s always been skeptical of federal mandates and subsidies.
“We do need to rethink the Renewable Fuels Standard and find a glide-path to the free market competition which has always made markets work,” Whitaker says. “and it’s made the United States of America stronger.”
Whitaker, a central Iowa lawyer who once served as a federal prosecutor, says things have changed in the decade since the ethanol production mandate was created.
“We’ve seen an energy boom in the United States of America,” Whitaker says. “We’ve also seen some of the next-generation biofuels have not been as quick to develop and so right now the mandate is not working the way it was intended and we need to get back to competition and free markets.”
Iowa’s current crop of elected leaders, from Governor Terry Branstad to the state’s entire congressional delegation have uniformly criticized the Obama Administration’s plan to scale back the amount of biofuels produced. Whitaker would go one step further and eventually eliminate the production goal altogether.
“I don’t want government putting its thumb on the scale one way or another and, you know, I personally put ethanol in my car as I’ve driven over 50,000 miles in this race,” Whitaker says. “I choose it. I believe that other Iowans and Americans will choose it becaue it’s a good product, not because the federal government mandates it.”
Whitaker is competing against four other Republicans for the Iowa GOP’s U.S. Senate nomination for the seat now held by Democrat Tom Harkin, who supports the Renewable Fuels Standard. Iowa’s other senator, Republican Chuck Grassley, supports it, too.
In other developments in the Republican contest Wednesday, the widow of Iowa’s most decorated military veteran endorsed Senate candidate Sam Clovis. Dorie Day’s late husband, Bud Day, won the medal of honor for his service during the Vietnam War. Clovis is a retired veteran. Candidate Joni Ernst, who is currently a soldier in the National Guard, announced she has the backing of a retired Iowa National Guard adjutant general.