Will Eric Cantor tie the debt ceiling fight to the Renewable Fuel Standard?

As we’ve mentioned before, Big Ethanol has been pretty much ticking off everyone. The Renewable Fuel Standard, which keeps pushing the blending of bio-fuels – including imaginary ones – into gasoline, has been a fairly unmitigated disaster. (Of course, it doesn’t help when the Republicans get in on the act and talk about expanding it.) But could change be on the horizon?

Bloomberg is reporting that Eric Cantor is looking at tying restrictions on the RFS to any agreement to raise the debt ceiling.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor may attach legislation to alter renewable fuel standards to a package to raise the U.S. debt ceiling.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee is considering options for revising the standard, a part of the 2007 energy law that requires petroleum refiners and importers to blend billions of gallons of renewable fuel into the motor fuel supply. Cantor, a Virginia Republican, is weighing whether to tie changes to must-pass legislation this fall, spokeswoman Megan Whittemore told Bloomberg BNA in an e-mail…

The standards, expanded by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, require 36 billion gallons of ethanol or renewable fuel in the nation’s fuel supply by 2022.

This is only one of a number of proposals that Cantor is supposedly considering. There have been other ideas floated, including tying the bill to things ranging from approving the Keystone Pipeline to defunding Obamacare. But will Cantor pull the trigger and, more to the point, are the votes there to support it?

There is a ton of political weight on some of the alternate proposals under consideration. This would apply not only to Obamacare, but to legislating things like Syria. But the energy issue, where Obama has vacillated and at least pretended to take a reasonable position at various times, could be doable. The most recent disappointing jobs report should remind voters that energy is one avenue where we still have viable options for expansion and growth which are totally under our control, and there are mid-term elections coming up. Removing a bit of the politics – not to mention the current focus on foreign affairs – and returning the discussion to jobs and the economy could prove fertile for Cantor and the GOP. But it’s going to take some collective spine to do it.

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