American Soybean Association--Stimulus Proposal, Ag ProvisionsFri, 12 Feb 2021 12:59:26 CST
The House Agriculture Committee held a lengthy business meeting yesterday to officially organize and consider agricultural-related provisions of President Bidenís $1.9 trillion stimulus plan.
The stimulus consideration process was distinctly different than the path of past COVID relief packages. The congressional process of budget reconciliation is being used as a parliamentary tool to fast-track the stimulus legislation with a simple majority vote in the House and Senate.
Chairman David Scott (D-GA) described the stimulus provisions as a way to address needs that were not included in the December year-end COVID package. That December package included more than $11 billion in ag relief, including supplemental Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) payments, which has not yet been implemented by USDA
The stimulus provisions approved by the committee on a party line vote include:
∑ $1 billion in assistance to and support for community-based organizations and 1890 Land Grant and other minority-serving institutions that work with Black farmers and other farmers of color on land access, financial training, heirs property issues, training the next generation and access to education
∑ Farm Loan Assistance for Black farmers and other farmers of color
∑ Extending 15% SNAP benefit increase through September 30, 2021
∑ $37 million to the Commodity Supplemental Food Program to fill a gap that has grown as food for this program has become scarcer during the pandemic
∑ $500 million in Community Facility Program funds to help rural hospitals and local communities broaden access to COVID-19 vaccines & food assistance
∑ $3.6 billion for the Secretary of Agriculture to continue to help the food and ag sector supply chains
∑ $100 million in overtime fee relief to small meat and poultry processors currently grappling with COVID-19-related backlogs
∑ $800 million for the Food for Peace program, including for purchases of U.S.-grown crops used in international humanitarian aid
The sole amendment approved by the committee was proposed by Rep. Feenstra (R-IA) to extend WHIP+ coverage to 2020 crop losses and clarify that high winds and derechos are covered causes of loss. Rep. Axne (D-IA) crossed party lines to support the amendment.
The provisions passed by the House Agriculture Committee will now be combined with relief approved by other committees before moving to the full House for consideration.
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