Stabenow and Boozman differ on US Biden bailout
“If either card shows a net increase in the deficit, the CAMO is required to order sequestration of all non-exempt programs, which include important farm safety net programs,” Boozman said. . “PAYGO’s sequestration cuts can be avoided by forgoing the cuts, but that requires 60 votes. It’s a threshold that Senate Democrats seek to avoid by using the reconciliation process to pass their legislative priorities, like a bailout fund for states.
“Agricultural producers have faced difficult economic conditions in recent years. Instead of continuing to work together on helping COVID, the Biden administration and Congressional Democrats have chosen to use reconciliation so they can move on items unrelated to their wishlist. It is wrong to ask our farmers to pay for all these extra expenses not related to COVID. “
CALL FOR CHANGES
Members of each party called for changes. The Washington Post reported that the senses. Mark Warner, D-Va., And Angus King, I-Maine, called for some state and local money to be transferred to pay for expanding broadband access, a investment that Republicans have also supported. GOP senators, however, criticize the spending as a partisan and expedited spending aid.
“The bulk of this budget-breaking bill is devoted to fulfilling a wishlist of long-standing Liberal priorities, including billion dollar bailouts, phased program expansions and expensive partisan pet projects, ”said Joni Ernst, senator from Iowa.
The House aid package passed by the Senate includes more than $ 1 billion in farm loans that would go to socially disadvantaged farmers. Under this plan, USDA would pay up to 120% of farm debt for direct or guaranteed USDA loans. Socially disadvantaged people are defined as Blacks or African Americans, American Indians or Alaskan Indians, Hispanics, Asians and Native Hawaiians or Pacific Islanders.
During the House agriculture committee meeting on the bill’s provisions, Republicans questioned aid specifically to minority farmers, saying it would lead to reverse discrimination lawsuits. Eventually, the USDA could end up repaying all of its direct and guaranteed loans.
The bill also includes language that would help black farmers retain ownership of their land by addressing issues related to USDA assistance to farmers whose land is “the property of heirs.”
Stabenow said she supported the Black Farmer Arrangements, which were led by freshman Senator Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., And Senator Cory Booker, DN.J. “When you look at one of the very first ways that there was racial discrimination after the legal abolition of slavery, it was the lack of support for black farmers,” Stabenow told a reporters roundtable. African Americans on Wednesday, “people who have been discriminated against in terms of land ownership.”
Stabenow added at the roundtable that the bill helps tackle “long-standing areas of discrimination and racial disparity on land ownership and farmers, especially in the South.”
BOOSTING THE FOOD SUPPLY
The bill provides USDA $ 4 billion to boost the food supply chain and response to the agricultural pandemic. The USDA could use the fund to purchase food and agricultural products, as well as to purchase and distribute products such as fresh produce, dairy products, seafood, eggs and meat to non-profit organizations. lucrative. Part of the funds could also be used to provide grants and loans to small and medium-sized food processors or distributors.
USDA could also provide loans or grants “to improve the resilience of the food and agricultural supply chain”.
An additional $ 500 million would allow USDA to provide more emergency grants for rural health care. This included increasing the capacity to distribute vaccines, providing drugs or medical supplies to increase medical capacity, and reimbursing expenses related to COVID-19 and lost income in areas with lower median income. at the poverty line. The bill also expands telehealth capabilities. An increase in SNAP benefits for low-income Americans would also be extended until September 30.
Other provisions of the bill include other telemedicine block grants to help rural communities and other medically underserved communities. The bill also increases assistance to emergency housing funds in rural America.
Chris Clayton, DTN’s agricultural policy editor, contributed to this report.
Jerry Hagstrom can be reached at [email protected]
Follow him on Twitter @hagstromreport
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