Congress returns from a two-week break with the deepening impeachment battle clouding prospects for budget and tax issues important to U.S. .agriculture, and there is continued uncertainty about when lawmakers will take up the U.S.-Canada-Mexico trade agreement.
Trade tensions, the Trump administration's decisions on biofuel policy, and an oversupply of ethanol are placing ethanol plants in a tight spot financially, forcing some to either shut down or press pause on production until conditions improve, industry officials say.
The Environmental Protection Agency proposed Friday only a minimal increase in U.S. biofuel usage, reflecting modest growth in production of next-generation cellulosic ethanol, and the decision was immediately slammed by biodiesel producers.
The House Ways and Means Committee advanced a tax bill that would extend the biodiesel tax credit and other items related to blending infrastructure and wind, but the legislation will face objections in the Republican-controlled Senate.
Senate Republicans are expressing optimism that President Donald Trump will sign a fiscal 2019 spending agreement that would avert another partial government shutdown and fund USDA, the Interior Department and agencies such as EPA and FDA through Sept. 30.