The U.S Senate has confirmed Bill Northey's nomination to a U.S.D.A. post. Northey was tapped to be a USDA Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation, but the nomination had been held-up by Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who released his hold earlier today. The news came the same day as a White House meeting with President Donald Trump, Senator Cruz, and Iowa's two U.S. Senators, Joni Ernst and Charles Grassley.
Cruz had been holding up the vote as a means to try pressure the White House into adjusting the Renewable Fuel Standard.
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey issued the following statement following the U.S. Senate confirming him to serve as the Under Secretary of Agriculture. The timing for Northey’s resignation and swearing-in is still being finalized and will be announced at a later date.
“It is a tremendous honor for me to be confirmed to serve as an Under Secretary of Agriculture. I want to thank President Trump for nominating me and Secretary Perdue for his support and encouragement throughout the confirmation process. I also want to thank Iowa Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst for their strong support and their tireless work on behalf of my nomination. I greatly appreciate Chairman Roberts, Ranking Member Stabenow and the entire Senate Ag Committee for their bipartisan support of my nomination. I look forward to continuing to work closely with them in this new role.
“While this process has taken longer than expected, I remain as excited as ever to work with Secretary Perdue and the staff at USDA to support of our nation’s farmers and ranchers.
“I want to express my deep appreciation to the people of Iowa for affording me the opportunity to serve in this role for the past eleven years. Working with and learning from the men and women who make Iowa agriculture the dynamic and productive industry that feeds the world has been honor of a lifetime.”
U.S. Senator Charles Grassley tweeted the news:
"FINALLY, FINALLY, Bill Northey confirmed for under secretary of Ag Congratulations! It took too long you were used as an innocent tool btwn big oil and ethanol. All the farmers of the United States will now benefit from you like Iowa farmers have for 11 years."
Gov. Kim Reynolds issued the following statement:
“Bill Northey is a talented, passionate, hard-working Iowan, and I am excited to see him serve in this new role.
“Bill served Iowans as Secretary of Agriculture for more than a decade. His time was marked with significant progress and innovation in agriculture, including water quality. He also provided our state with rock solid leadership in times of droughts, floods and an avian flu outbreak.
“Through it all, his commitment to this state and its people never wavered. Iowa is better thanks to his service, and the nation will be better with Bill in his new role as Under Secretary of Agriculture for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services.”
In response to Northey’s confirmation, Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Executive Director Monte Shaw made the following statement:
“Today’s vote was long overdue, but very welcome. Under Secretary Northey has been an outstanding Secretary of Agriculture for Iowa and he will undoubtedly be an excellent leader at USDA. The Trump Administration needs more voices that echo, not contradict, Trump’s own support for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Today’s confirmation marks a victory for farmers and biofuels supporters across the country.
For four months, Senator Ted Cruz has used his hold on the confirmation vote as a political football in an attempt to undermine the RFS. While it took too long, Senator Cruz finally realized that Northey had no interest in being confirmed on the back of dismantling the RFS. Iowa Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst head to the White House today determined to push back against the false narratives Cruz continues to push in his efforts to gut the RFS and preserve the petroleum monopoly on our fuel supplies.”