House Democrats included billions for Ag disaster aid in their stop-gap government funding bill that passed on a party-line vote Wednesday, but that now faces a Senate GOP filibuster over its debt limit hike. The stop-gap spending bill would prevent a government shutdown October 1st, despite the inclusion of billions of dollars for farm country and other disasters.
“The legislation includes $10 billion for agricultural disaster assistance programs to cover events in 2020 and 2021,” said House Ag Appropriations Chair Sanford Bishop. “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+ funding in the $3.5 trillion budget bill. However, majority Democrats added 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,” Bishop continued. “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.”
Also included in the budget bill, $750 million for livestock, dairy and sugar losses this year. In the meantime, WHIP+ recipients will need to buy crop insurance or Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance coverage for two crop years after receiving assistance.
The budget bill cleared the House on a 220-211 partisan vote.
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