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Direct Assistance to Ethanol Industry Vital in Next COVID-19 Relief Package
Congress is working on the next coronavirus aid package. On May 15, the U.S. House of Representatives passed its phase four stimulus bill the “Heroes Act,” which would establish a new Renewable Fuel Reimbursement Program and 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 recently unveiled by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell does not contain either the House-passed direct aid or the Grassley-Klobuchar provision. The McConnell bill includes $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 come back online, retain its high-skilled workforce, and help alleviate the devastating ripple effect ethanol plant closures are having 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 in a July 22 letter to Senators McConnell and Schumer, direct aid for biofuel producers is long overdue.
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