Congress Passes Billions For COVID Relief

Congress passes nearly $500 billion dollars for coronavirus relief, over $300 billion of which will go to additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program. The funds will go to small business, hospitals, and increase testing kits for COVID-19. However, some lawmakers feel like the funding does not do enough for certain ag sectors and more funds will be needed down the line.

According to Representative John Joyce, “Initial confusion on size limitation and guidance that did not consider the unique business models of agriculture producers kept many farmers from accessing this relief... more must be done to ensure the future of our agriculture producers and food supply chain.”

Representative Judy Chu believes programs like the SBA’s Emergency Injury Disaster Loan Program does not account for self-employed workers.

While many lawmakers are excited and appreciative of the fact more funding for small business owners and ag sectors is on the way, they also believe there will be a need for more funding as this pandemic continues. Representative Dusty Johnson states, “Now, we have made progress securing $23 billion dollars for producers, but more funding is clearly, clearly needed.” Rep. Johnson goes on to state that producers affected by plant closures need assistance because they have no markets to sell their livestock to.

One Virginia lawmaker, Rep. Abigail Spanberger, says that funding for rural broadband and quality internet access is essential to help small businesses stay afloat during these times.

For all updates on the Coronavirus and how it impacts Rural America, visit our Coronavirus outbreak hub.