Senators sign Dem trade report as Fudge issues statement
Earlier this week, 15 Democratic senators signed a letter urging Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to correct the inequities the Democrats see in agricultural trade assistance payments: U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee ranking member Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, Dick Durbin of Illinois, Tina Smith of Minnesota, Senate Appropriations Committee ranking member Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Gary Peters of Michigan, Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, Robert Casey of Pennsylvania, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Patty Murray of Washington, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Kamala Harris of California, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee ranking member Jeff Merkley of Oregon.
The letter was accompanied by a report written by Stabenow’s staff on the Senate Agriculture Committee.
House Agriculture Nutrition, Oversight, and Department Operations Subcommittee Chair Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, issued a statement that essentially endorsed the Senate report without mentioning it and added a comment on the administration’s simultaneous tightening of eligibility rules for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and school meals.
“Families in rural, urban and suburban communities are struggling,” Fudge wrote. “As a direct result of the administration’s trade war, farmers across the country require assistance because of the uncertainty caused by this administration’s rash trade decisions.
“It is extremely telling that the administration is doing everything it can to delegate staff time and rush money to the very farmers hurt by their policies, while at the same time taking more and more extreme steps to limit the amount of assistance available to food-insecure families.
“They all need and deserve help, but as recent reports and letters have highlighted, the USDA’s temporary fix is plagued with holes, and I’m concerned that the administration is at risk of failing both farmers and food-insecure families alike.”
Former House Agriculture Committee Chairman Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla., and 80 of his colleagues last week introduced the Protect Farmers from the SEC Act.