It’s expected that serious negotiations on a final COVID-19 stimulus bill are expected the latter this month after Congressional lawmakers return from a two-week holiday recess. The politics and contents of what’s expected to be a final pandemic stimulus are uncertain as the election nears, but Ag-state lawmakers are increasingly confident there will be some kind of bill.
“In our letter to the Senate, we asked for $68 billion, or replenishment to $68 billion,” said American Farm Bureau Executive Director Dale Moore. We think, given the scope and the continued expansion of the impact of COVID-19 on agriculture, farmers, and ranchers, and all the way through the food and fiber and fuel chain, we think $68 billion would get us in that particular point.”
That, Moore said, would give Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue flexibility to cover losses in livestock, crops, and dairy, plus the cost of destroying and disposing of animals that couldn’t be processed, as well as funds to expand rural broadband. Earlier, $24 billion dollars went to CFAP direct assistance program and the Commodity Credit Corporation.
What are the President’s priorities in another round of stimulus?
“In CARES Act 4, he’s looking to substantially bump up money for education – supporting our schools, supporting our families,” said President Trump spokeswoman Kaley McEnany. He’s talked about payouts, stimulus payouts to Americans. That worked very well the first time. it’s something he’s mentioned for a Phase 4. He’s talked about a payroll tax holiday, which would be a big tax break for America’s workers.”
Moore added agriculture’s also seeking COVID-19 liability protection to limit lawsuits against producers, packing plants, and others, a key to keeping the food supply chain running. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s insisting on such protection, while most Democrats oppose the idea.
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