Virus Relief Package

July 22, 2020

July 22, 2020

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, and Renewable Fuels Association. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary –

We have two parties – Republicans and Democrats in our Congress. And then we have
President Trump. They all want to pass a new relief package to help us through our coronavirus
recession. Democrats want to spend $3 trillion while Republicans are talking about $1 trillion.
That is a big difference and they have serious differences on who gets the money.

The Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, Sen. John Hoeven, wants more than $14 billion to assist farmers. Priority will be the livestock sector. (The National Pork Producers Council claims they will lose too many pork farms if they do not get more relief.) The supply chain has suffered more disruptions than anyone ever imagined. Food for people is another priority.

Our Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamp program) has seen a surge
in new customers, 6 million, since the virus hit. Democrats are pushing for an increase in
benefits and more money to help our food banks. In the end I think both parties will make more
food available for the needy. Also, USDA wants more money for the Farmers to Families Food
Box Program. Democrats support the $600 per week payment to unemployed workers. That
was passed in March and ends this month. They want it extended to the end of the year. The
consequence of that extra money has not been all good. Workers receiving unemployment
checks plus $600 have no incentive to go back to work. The $600 will be extended. Perhaps
something less.

Democrats want more federal aid to states and cities. They will get some, but not close to
what they want. A very high priority for Republicans is to expand liability protection for
businesses, schools, and non-profit organizations. If we do not do that, every virus infected
person could sue the company. We have too many lawsuits now. Finally, President Trump and
some members of Congress want a payroll tax cut. Not likely. Look at all the different priorities
and options with very little time to negotiate a compromise. It will not be easy, but I think they
will get it done.

Until next week, this John Block reporting from Washington, D.C. If you would like to
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