Sen. Ted Cruz defends his position on getting rid of federal ethanol subsidies, which has drawn fire from Iowa's governor and GOP frontrunner Donald Trump
CHUCK TODD, MEET THE PRESS: You are -- have come out against these subsidies. You've called it a grave ri train. a lot of iowans including the republican governor doesn't like it. i'm going to put these numbers, isn't it understandable why Iowans like these subsidies. Ethanol and biodiesel support more than 46,000 jobs, generated $2.5 billion for Iowan households, this is a state with unemployment under 4%. This is an important part of their economy. >>
TED CRUZ: Absolutely. And, listen, my view on energy we should pursue all of the above. We ought to be pursuing every energy source.
CHUCK TODD: You'll be hurting their economy.
TED CRUZ: But with no mandates and subsidies. The people attacking me Lobbyists and Democrats.
CHUCK TODD: Gov. Bransted, is he a lobbyist or a Democrat?
TED CRUZ: His son is a lobbyist who makes hundreds of thousands of dollars on lobbying ethanol. His family makes a ton of money.
The lobbyists very much want to keep Iowa focused on the ethanol mandate, because it keeps Iowa dependent on Washington.
It means every year they have to go back to Washington and maintain the mandate, lobbyists get paid, politicians get paid. I'm going to eliminate all the subsidies. No subsidies for oil and gas, no subsidies for anybody. But the other piece that's very important and resonating is i'm going to also tear down the EPA's ethanol blend wall, which means make it legal to sell mid-level blends of ethanol. And that in turn can expand ethanol's share of the marketplace by 60%, but not based on mandates and subsidies -- based on the free market. That message is resonating.
CHUCK TODD: It's so clear you spent a lot of time in Iowa... at the end of the day, how does this not hurt the Iowa economy? That's what Governor Branstad is saying. A vote for you is going to hurt the economy.
TED CRUZ: But, Chuck, the point I made this actually would expand the Iowa economy. Right now ethanol is banging into the [renewable fuel standard]. It's essentially the blend wall is a cap. As people in Iowa know, ethanol's not expanding its market share because the EPA is preventing it from doing it.
By the way, no other candidate has pledged to remove the blend wall. No other candidate is focusing on the future for ethanol. And you know someone who joined me on my bus tour across the state, fellow named Dave Vandergrind, he built more than half the ethanol plants in the state of Iowa. He's the one who estimates you could see a 60% market increase. You know who's hurt by my plan? The lobbyists in Washington and the people who are helped are Iowa farmers and jobs here in the state of Iowa.