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Direct Assistance to Ethanol Industry Vital in Next COVID-19 Relief Package
Congress continues to work on the next coronavirus aid package. On October 1, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a new version of its phase four stimulus bill the “Heroes Act,” originally passed in May, which would establish a new Renewable Fuel Reimbursement Program. On May 19, Senators Grassley (R-IA) and Klobuchar (D-MN) introduced legislation to provide economic relief through the Renewable Fuel Feedstock Reimbursement Program.

Unfortunately, stimulus legislation unveiled by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell late July did not contain either the House direct aid proposal or the Grassley-Klobuchar provision. The McConnell bill included $20 billion in relief to be used by USDA and a vague reference to “processors” being eligible to receive the funding.

This is concerning because Congress gave USDA flexibility to make renewable fuel producers eligible for aid in the third stimulus package but USDA declined to exercise it. While ethanol producers should be considered “processors” under any commonsense definition of the term, we do not want to leave anything to chance.

Join ACE in calling on the House and Senate to include specific and clear language in the final coronavirus relief package that provides direct aid to help the U.S. biofuel industry to continue to stay online, retain its high-skilled workforce, and help alleviate the devastating ripple effect ethanol plant closures earlier this year had on livestock and food processing supply chains and rural communities.

We have to ensure the legislative details are correct as there should be no reason direct assistance for ethanol producers doesn’t make it in the final phase four bill.

As ACE stated months ago in a July 22 letter to Senators McConnell and Schumer, direct aid for biofuel producers is long overdue.The world is implementing tighter restrictions due to rising covid cases, making this support even more vital as ethanol demand will drop as more people are encouraged to stay home. 
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