The House Agriculture Committee held a lengthy business meeting yesterday to officially organize and consider agricultural-related provisions of President Biden’s $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 aidClick here to see more...