Congressional Disaster Aid Blocked by Lone House Member
A bipartisan supplemental disaster aid bill was blocked by a lone member of the U.S. House on Friday, May 24th. The measure, which provides disaster assistance for farmers dealing with damage and losses from hurricanes, floods, tornadoes and other weather issues, was blocked from being unanimously approved by a single member of the U.S. House of Representatives when Representative Chip Roy (R-TX) objected to considering the bill before the week-long Memorial Day Congressional Recess. The measure if approved, would provide important assistance to non-insured farmers who are unable to plant due to floods during the 2019 growing season. The $19.1 billion spending bill compliments assistance already in the works from the Trump Administration to help farmers harmed by ongoing trade disputes and related tariffs.
The earliest the bill would be reconsidered in the U.S. House is June 3rd. It was approved by the U.S. Senate with a vote of 85-8.
Two key components of the measure was a waiver of Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) limits for eligibility for payments under the Act as well as new policy for Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) payments that would provide disaster payments to farmers who didn’t buy any crop insurance policy for up to 70 percent of their losses. This program for non-insured acres is important for U.S. farmers as it provides a policy that covers many farmers unable to plant so far to date, and it incentivizes farmers to consider not planting this year rather than planting those acres just to seek a benefit under the trade assistance package established by the USDA.