Mar 27, 2020
WASHINGTON, DC -- Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act by a voice vote, the third stimulus package by the U.S government in the face of the growing coronavirus pandemic. The Senate passed the measure unanimously by a vote of 96-0 late Wednesday night. President Donald Trump said that he would sign the bill into law immediately.
This $2 trillion-dollar package is intended to provide an economic band-aid amid the growing uncertainty that Americans are faced with due to the disruptions brought on by COVID-19. The legislation provides much needed resources to respond to the health crisis along with economic stimulus policies and funding for a number of industries, including agriculture, allocating $34.9 billion to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
A bulk of this funding, $25.05 billion, is going to the Food Nutrition Service to provide additional funding for programs such as The Emergency Food Assistance Program, Child Nutrition Program and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Another $14 billion is being allocated to the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) to replenish borrowing authority, which will allow the CCC to fund programs authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill, like the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program. An allocation of $9.5 billion was authorized and appropriated to be used by USDA for COVID-19 response.
The balance of this funding will be used to expand the capacity of the Farm Service Agency (FSA) to meet demand from farmers affected by the pandemic, assistance for small towns and rural communities, funding loans for rural businesses, help for rural hospitals and telemedicine, high speed internet expansion, and funding for government agencies to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to rural providers among other initiatives.
“USA Rice applauds the efforts of Congress and the Administration to help our members and their families and employees overcome the damaging effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Ben Mosely, USA Rice vice president of government affairs. “The U.S. rice industry is proud to continue providing the American people and folks all around the world with a safe and nutritious product, and this assistance from the Federal government will help ensure that we’re able to continue to do so.”
Details of the bill's provisions can be found on the USA Rice Covid-19 Industry Resource Page linked above.