Food insecurity in the United States dropped again in 2019 ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has cost millions of Americans their jobs and continues to send many into food lines, the Agriculture Department reported Wednesday.
The Trump administration and House Democrats have yet to reach a coronavirus relief deal, and billions in agriculture funding and food assistance increases hang in the balance as the high-level talks move slowly.
A key senator involved in developing the Republican coronavirus relief package for farmers defended the broad authority it gives to USDA to spend $20 billion in farm aid, but he said the Trump administration likely will need to provide assurances about how the money will be spent.
The Democratic Party’s draft 2020 platform calls for directing more farm subsidies to small and medium-size farms while making the agriculture sector the first in the first world to eliminate net carbon emissions.
Talks on a coronavirus relief package will heat up this week as Senate Republicans prepare to bring out their proposal this week with an eye toward getting the massive legislation passed ahead of the August recess.
It looks like farm groups will largely stay on the sidelines as the House moves toward a vote on Democrats’ giant coronavirus relief bill, even though it would authorize $16.5 billion more in direct farm payments plus other aid to producers.
Stung by scenes of farmers dumping milk and plowing under crops, the Trump administration is launching a never-before-tried plan to use the nation’s commercial food distributors to buy fresh produce, dairy products and meat and give them away to needy families across the country.
Participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program are now getting emergency benefit increases totaling $2 billion a month nationwide that Congress authorized to address the unemployment surge and economic disruption caused by the COVID-19 crisis.