Grassley: Next CARES Act to pass Aug. 6 |

Grassley: Next CARES Act to pass Aug. 6

The Hagstrom Report

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said that he expects the next CARES Act to pass the Senate on Aug. 6, the day the Senate is scheduled to leave for a recess through Labor Day.

In response to a question from The Hagstrom Report on a call to rural reporters, Grassley said he expects the bill to pass on Aug. 6 “before we go home.”

Grassley said negotiations over the bill will begin after the July 4 recess, but that almost every day he hears someone in the Senate say that something should be included in the next bill to provide economic relief from the coronavirus pandemic.

Grassley pointed out that he was one of 13 senators who wrote to House and Senate leaders on May 11 that the next bill should include assistance to hog producers who have been forced to depopulate their herds.

The Senate discussion about the next bill has been delayed “because we want to know how the economy turns around,” how much of $150 billion in aid to the states has been spent and whether about $100 billion in the Paycheck Protection Program account that has not been spent can be diverted to other purposes.

Grassley also urged Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler to dismiss petitions from the oil industry that would provide relief from the Renewable Fuel Standard in previous years.

If Wheeler does not dismiss the oil industry petitions, he will risk President Donald Trump’s support in Iowa and other Midwestern states, where ethanol production is a major industry, Grassley said.

People who believe the United States and the United Kingdom are going to reach a free trade agreement before the election are “being too hopeful,” Grassley said.

Negotiations between the United States and the UK on financial services are unlikely to be difficult, but negotiations over agriculture will be, Grassley said.

He noted that UK officials have discussed allowing U.S. products that are controversial — such as chicken washed in chlorine and meat from animals fed growth enhancements — and adding a high tariff.

That, Grassley said, is a way to put pressure on the United States to change its production methods and “is another way of being very protectionist.”

Asked for the biggest lesson from the pandemic, Grassley said it is that meat packing plants must make their facilities safe for their workers. ❖