Grassley to push for RELIEF Act
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, told rural reporters Monday that when the Senate returns to Washington on July 20 he will push for the next coronavirus aid package to include the Responding to Epidemic Losses and Investing in the Economic Future (RELIEF) for Producers Act of 2020.
Grassley and Sens. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla.; Joni Ernst, R-Iowa; Thom Tillis, R-N.C.; and Richard Burr, R-N.C., introduced the bill last Thursday as the Senate was leaving for a two-week recess.
Grassley said the bill would have the following provisions:
Emergency assistance for livestock and poultry loss
▪ Would provide assistance to producers who had to euthanize livestock due to lack of access to processing facilities.
▪ Livestock value would be calculated based on the national average market value between March 1 and the date of enactment.
▪ Reimbursements would be calculated for a 30-day period beginning with the date of initial depopulation, producers will get 85% of the value of losses.
▪ Each 30 day period after that, the value of losses would be reduced by 10%.
Animal disease prevention and preparedness
▪ Animal health networks have been working to assist and share resources with their public health partners to supplement testing capabilities during the current public health emergency. This has resulted in reduction in capacity for animal agriculture to respond to a foreign animal disease.
▪ This provision would provide $300 million to support improved animal health surveillance and laboratories as they supplement testing capabilities of public health laboratories during the current public health emergency.
Emergency authorities for the Commodity Credit Corporation
▪ Would amend the CCC Charter Act to add authority for the secretary to deal with removal and disposal of livestock and poultry due to supply chain interruption during a public health emergency.
▪ Would add the authority to provide assistance to agricultural processing plants in the event of a public health emergency in order to assure the continuation of markets for agricultural commodities.