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Trump Holds Emergency Meeting to Discuss Anger from Farm State Lawmakers
USAgNet - 08/21/2019

President Donald Trump presided over a lengthy Oval Office meeting Monday in which he urged officials to soften the impact of recent policy moves that angered Midwestern farm states critical to his re-election.

The Trump administration was stung by criticism over the Environmental Protection Agency's Aug. 9 decision to give 31 refineries exemptions from annual biofuel-blending requirements -- including Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley's assertion that the Trump administration had "screwed" farmers.

Bloomberg reports that the president suggested rescinding some of the newly granted waivers during the Monday meeting, according to four people familiar with the discussions who asked not to be named describing a private session. Trump was told the waivers may not be reversible, but officials offered other ideas to mitigate the political impact in Iowa, a state he carried in 2016 and needs again in 2020 to win.

Administration officials suggested expanding environmental credits that encourage production of "flex-fuel" vehicles that can run on high-ethanol gasoline and requiring government agencies to use more of them -- both steps that could increase the use of corn in fuels. The White House press office had no comment.

The flurry of discussions is in keeping with the president's practice of searching for immediate fixes to thorny policy disputes, from a border wall to the tax overhaul, sometimes impulsively endorsing just-advanced ideas that haven't been deeply vetted. For instance, Trump stunned Republican leaders and some of his own staff when he temporarily sided with top Democrats on federal spending in September 2017.

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