Iowa Ag Summit  ...Next >
March 7, 2015--Sen. Ted Cruz.
photo 1 of sen. ted cruz at the iowa ag summit
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Cruz sports a Jawbone® fitness tracker.
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Responses on RFS and wind:
Rastetter: How about we deal with the elephant in the room right away.  A week ago you talked to Club for Growth, and you talked about that you're opposed to ethanol subsidies, and those subsidies as you're aware were eliminated in 2011.  Talk about that.

Cruz: Well look, my view on ethanol and biofuels--I support biofuels and ethanol.  I think biofuels have a major role in the energy market, and they're going to continue to have a growing role.  I also don't think--and you and I have talked about this a number of times before--I don't think Washington should be picking winners and losers. 

When it comes to energy, I think we should have an all-of-the-above approach, but it should be driven by the market, and look, I recognize that this is a gathering of a lot of folks, who the answer you'd like me to give is "I'm for the RFS, darn it."  That'd be the easy thing to do.  But I'll tell you, people are pretty fed up I think with politicians that run around and tell one group one thing, tell another group another thing, and then they go to Washington and they don't do anything they said they would do.  And I think that's a big part of the reason we have the problems we have in Washington is there have been career politicians in both parties that aren't listening to the American people and that aren't doing what they said they would do. [applause]

Rastetter: So as we think about that free-market approach on biofuels, and you know one of the challenges is since the ethanol companies don't control the gas stations and oil does, if we didn't have the RFS wouldn't we be mandated to use oil?  How do you have access to the marketplace in a free market unless you can access consumers?

Cruz: You know I think as you look at that question, that was a far bigger challenge ten years ago than it is now.  Ethanol is a major player in the industry.  E-10, the refiners are used to it, the distribution system is there, the demand will continue without the federal mandate.  And if you do have--look I understand the concern about market access and I think that's a fair concern, and we have federal anti-trust laws in place if you have the refiners or the gas stations working with oil to cut off access, there are remedies in the federal anti-trust laws to deal with that, if you're having market access blocked.

But I think the right answer is to enable biofuels to keep innovating, keep producing and not have Washington dictating what's happening.

Rastetter: Okay so what's your perspective alongside that with wind?  Texas is a large wind state; Iowa's number two or three.  The wind tax credit expired at the end of December.

Cruz: Right.

Look, I think wind is terrific.  As you know Texas and Iowa are one and two in the country in wind production, but once again I don't think it should be the federal government dictating that.  You know my view, when it comes to trying to get the federal government out of your lives, trying to stop the EPA, trying to stop OSHA, trying to stop federal regulators from descending on your farms and making it harder for you to produce, for you to do your jobs--you have no greater friend and ally than I am. 

But when it comes in the energy business to any one engaged in picking winners and losers--and listen I put this more broadly to corporate welfare.  I have been an outspoken opponent of corporate welfare.  Now listen in Texas, we're the number one wind producer in the state [country]; that's not necessarily a popular position back home.  I've been outspoken in allowing the Export-Import Bank to expire; it's another example of corporate welfare where taxpayer dollars are benefiting giant corporations.  I don't think we should be doing that; I think we need to be fiscally responsible and I have every bit of faith that businesses can continue to compete, can continue to do well without having to go on bended knee to Washington asking for subsidies, asking for special favors.  I think that's how we got in this problem to begin with.
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Sen. Cruz talks with supporter Curt Groen of Hubbard, IA.
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photo bryan english at the iowa ag summit
On March 4 the Houston Chronicle reported Cruz's selection of Bryan English as Iowa senior advisor to his Jobs, Growth and Freedom Fund PAC.