FarmPolicy

December 16, 2017

Policy Issues; Climate Issues; Ag Economy; and Biotech Issues

Policy Issues: Disaster Payments

An update posted yesterday at the Oklahoma Farm Report Online reported that, “The White House has promised Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln that they can move money around and come up with $1.5 billion in disaster aid that will include 210 million dollars for Arkansas farmers- money that could arrive just days ahead of the November general elections.

“Oklahoma Congressman Frank Lucas, the ranking minority member of the House Ag Committee, says that he agrees with the Chairman of the House Ag Committee, Collin Peterson of Minnesota, that there is no way for them administratively to move this amount of money around within USDA without major problems. He calls it a reaction to Senator Lincoln in dire need of help to win reelection this fall in Arkansas. At the same time, he adds that if the White House forces this through- it will provide some much needed help for Oklahoma farmers because of a variety of weather related disasters from the last couple of years.”

To listen to an interview with Rep. Lucas and Ron Hays on this issue, just click here.

Agricultural disaster aid has become a campaign issue in the U.S. Senate race in Arkansas between Senator Blanche Lincoln (D) and Representative John Boozman (R).

An update posted yesterday at Sen. Lincoln’s campaign webpage stated that, “After blocking flood disaster relief for Arkansas agriculture producers in Congress, Congressman John Boozman is now complaining about Senator Blanche Lincoln’s ultimate solution-securing a promise from the Administration to fund her bill with existing budget authority at no added cost to taxpayers.”

“Senator Lincoln has fought for months to overcome Republican objections in the Congress to her deficit-neutral disaster assistance package. Congressman Boozman voted against the needed aid and watched idly as Senate Republicans blocked it in order to prop up his Senate bid. After Republican Senators, led by Mitch McConnell, blocked Senator Lincoln’s legislation four times, she secured a commitment from the Administration to deliver the aid. Friday, an Administration official announced that Senator Lincoln’s request would be met by the end of the month.

“Both Democratic and Republican Administrations have administered disaster aid on at least 19 occasions over the past decade,” the campaign news update said.

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