The congressional showdown over funding for a government-owned corporation that finances USDA programs is over. The resolution that cleared the U.S. House last night includes $30 billion for the Commodity Credit Corporation.
House Democratic leaders originally suggested the CCC had turned into a slush fund, as the Trump Administration prepares to send another $14 billion to U.S. farmers this fall. On Monday, Republican Senator Joni Ernst accused Democrats of playing political games at a time when farmers are facing significant financial challenges.
“For nearly three decades, we have moved forward with the replenishment of CCC funds for our farmers in a bipartisan fashion,” Ernst said. “…So many of those supports go to conservation efforts, they go to dairy — you name it. It is there to support our farmers, our ranchers and maintain the integrity of our food supply.”
Iowa’s entire congressional delegation sent a letter to House and Senate leaders, saying farmers shouldn’t be used as a “bargaining chip” in budget negotiations.
“I fought back against our leadership and said: ‘We are not going to get behind this unless our farmers get the aid they need,'” Congresswoman Cindy Axne, a Democrat from West Des Moines, said this morning. “…Covid-19, the derecho that just went through, the trade war, the Renewable Fuel Standard waivers and certainly in many parts of our state still the flood impacting us from last year — all of those things have impacted our farmers. We need to make sure that we’re getting the funding into their hands so they can continue to feed our country and this world.”
The plan that passed the House last night not only includes funding for the Commodity Credit Corporation, it also prevents the USDA from using CCC funds to undermine the Renewable Fuel Standard and make payments to oil refiners.
(Additional reporting by Mike Peterson, KMA, Shenandoah)