House Democrats included billions for Ag disaster aid in their stop-gap government funding bill that passed on a party-line vote, but that now faces a Senate GOP filibuster over its debt limit hike. The stop-gap spending bill to avert a government shutdown October first passed on a partisan 220-211 vote, despite Democrats including billions for Ag and other disasters. Here is House Ag Appropriations Chair Sanford Bishop from Georgia.
“The legislation includes $10 billion for agricultural disaster assistance programs to cover events in 2020 and 2021. Farmers, ranchers and producers continue to face extreme climate events, from extreme drought out west and unprecedented heat in the Pacific Northwest, to another year of massive wildfires in California, and hurricanes that continue to batter the Gulf and Eastern Seaboard states.”
Ag Republicans tried unsuccessfully in committee to include more WHIP-plus funding in the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion budget bill. But Democrats insisted instead on adding it plus other aid, to ‘sweeten’ the stop-gap bill.
“The bill also includes $275 million for the Emergency Watershed Protection Program to help communities address damages to infrastructure, caused by natural disasters to infrastructure that impair the watersheds. Furthermore, it ensures that USDA can fully meet the demand for farm ownership loans, especially for beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers. And it provides the authority and funding to allow the Food and Nutrition Service to increase the amounts of fruits and vegetables in the WIC food package.”
There’s also $750 million for livestock, dairy and sugar losses this year.