Latest pandemic relief bill continues to advance

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The latest pandemic relief bill is making its way through the legislative process. As part of the $ 1.9 trillion package, the House agriculture committee approved the bill’s Agriculture and Nutrition title. The Committee approved the proposal by a vote of 25-23. More than $ 16 billion would be allocated to support the food and agriculture industry.

“We applaud the House Agriculture Committee for their efforts and urge the rest of the House to provide Americans with the help they need so much by quickly passing this bill,” said National Farmers Union Chairman Rob Larew, in a press release. “This package includes a number of significant food and agriculture provisions that will help alleviate food insecurity, ensure the health and safety of food chain workers, speed up vaccinations in rural communities, historically uplift farmers. underserved and strengthen the resilience of the food system. ”

The Food and Nutrition title includes $ 3.6 billion for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to support food supply chains. The funding would be used to help purchase agricultural products for food banks and would also help protect farm workers. A total of $ 500 million will go to the Community Facility Program to help rural communities gain better access to COVID-19 vaccines. Overtime relief for small meat and poultry processors would be funded to the tune of $ 100 million.

The Pandemic Relief Bill also includes support for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). A 15% increase in the maximum SNAP benefits allowed would be extended until September 30. USDA would also receive $ 25 million for expanding SNAP online investments. The bill also provides for dedicated funding for debt relief for socially disadvantaged farmers. Over $ 1 billion would be used to improve access to land for blacks, aboriginals and farmers of color, as well as to establish an equity commission.

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