Congress is in the midst of the debate over the proposed $1.9 trillion-dollar COVID-19 stimulus package. The proposed legislation would include several billion for agricultural-related projects. While Democrats have headed off just about every Republican amendment to the bill, there was one that was attached in the House Agriculture Committee’s markup of the bill. This amendment would have a direct impact on Iowa.
Audio: Full Interview with Congressman Randy Feenstra
Iowa Freshman Congressman Randy Feenstra (R-4th) introduced an amendment to the COVID-19 stimulus package that would include part of the $4 billion to being given to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in the stimulus legislation to be allocated for the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program (WHIP). This program helps finance recovery for those affected by the August 10th derecho in Iowa.
Of the over 140 amendments proposed by Congressional Republicans, Feenstra’s was the only one that was tagged on to the bill. Feenstra says he realizes the importance of getting this amendment attached. He is hopeful it will be able to work its way through both chambers of Congress.
While the program is geared more towards producers, the WHIP program also helps those rural community businesses who suffered derecho storm damage in August. Many of the local elevators or input dealers would qualify for funding.
The bill passed out of the House Ag Committee with a slim 24-23 victory. Iowa Congresswoman Cindy Axne (D-3rd) was the only Democrat to vote in favor of the measure.