There has been a lot of talk about the COVID-19 outbreak. It has dominated our airwaves for a few weeks now. As the Federal and state governments work to confront a few hardships being faced by citizens, it seems more develop. It has definitely caused us to take a deep look at what exactly is considered “essential” in the day to day lives of Americans. Even farmers have had to reassess every level at which this shutdown is affecting their day to day lives. You really don’t always stop to think about everything you depend on and take for granted until it is gone.
Yesterday, Senator Chuck Grassley addressed agriculture media outlets about the stresses being faced in the Ag sector. Agriculture has been deemed an essential service by the Federal Government, but that doesn’t mean it is still business as usual. The senator acknowledged our food supply chain is being tested at an unprecedented level. Grassley also talked about the hardships being faced by ethanol plants, especially in Iowa. Plants which have already been suffering from small refinery exemptions (SREs) are now suffering further with decreased fuel demand while many people are staying home.
It is because of this that Senator Grassley joined with his fellow Iowa Senator Joni Ernst as well as other Midwest lawmakers to once again urge President Trump to not appeal the Tenth Circuit Court Decision that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) illegally granted SREs in three cases during 2016. While no official decisions have been made, Grassley feels optimistic that President Trump may come around.
The touchy subject of the Senate efforts to pass an economic stimulus package to deal with repercussions from the COVID-19 pandemic was discussed. The sides of the debate are rumored to be getting closer as of Tuesday morning, but on Monday afternoon Senator Grassley gave an impassioned response about provisions being debated in the package. Grassley touched on green energy provisions being attached to the bill. Grassley was adamant that now was not the time to attach riders and fund partisan pet projects on either side of the aisle, but to get people the help they need.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is said to still be working out details of a stimulus plan that could gain support from both sides of the aisle. Democrats have charged that the proposed bill did more for large corporations than it does for individual citizens and hospitals. Grassley said that the bill already includes $75 billion for hospitals.
As the day moves on, the American people will be watching to see if something is done to help them during this time of need, or if there are going to be more partisan politics being played ahead of a Presidential election.