Cruz blasts Branstad on ethanol mandate
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Republican presidential candidate Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzWith religious liberty memo, Trump made America free to be faithful again Interstate compacts aren't the right way to fix occupational licensing laws Texas Dem: ‘I don’t know what to believe’ about what Trump wants for wall MORE on Sunday blasted Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R), saying his son is a lobbyist "who makes hundreds of thousands of dollars lobbying on ethanol."

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Cruz backs a plan to phase out the federal ethanol mandate, which requires fuel refiners to blend a certain amount of ethanol into their gasoline supply. That stance caused the Iowa governor to urge voters to reject Cruz.

But Cruz said on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday morning that the people who are attacking him are lobbyists and Democrats. He also noted the governor's family makes "a ton of money" lobbying on ethanol.

"And the lobbyists very much want to keep Iowa focused on the ethanol mandate, because it keeps Iowa dependent on Washington," he said. "It means every year, they've got to go back to Washington and maintain the mandate. The lobbyists get paid, the politicians get paid."

Cruz said he's going to "eliminate all the subsidies." But he added that he also is going to "tear down the EPA's ethanol blend wall, which means make it legal to sell mid-level blends of ethanol."

"And that, in turn, can expand ethanol's share of the marketplace by 60 percent, but not based on mandates or subsidies, based on the free market," he said.

Cruz said his plan would actually expand Iowa's economy instead of hurt it.

"No other candidate is focusing on the future for ethanol," he said. "And you know who's hurt by my plan? The lobbyists in Washington. And the people who are helped are Iowa farmers and jobs here in the state of Iowa."