Negotiations for 4th CARES Act stimulus package to begin this month

Lawmakers gear up to negotiate a fourth CARES Act stimulus package when they return from recess later this month. The potential contents of the final stimulus package are still unknown, but American Farm Bureau is already putting in their requests.

“In our letter to the Senate, we asked for $68 billion dollars, or replenishment to $68 billion dollars,” AFBF Executive Director Dale Moore said. “We think, given the scope and the continued expansion of the impact of COVID-19 on agriculture, farmers and ranchers, and all the way through the food and fiver and fuel chain, we think $68 billion dollars would get us in that particular point.”

Earlier relief bills for agriculture include direct payments to cover ag losses, flexibility for preexisting programs, funding for broadband, and the Payroll Protection Program. The White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany says President Trump has priorities for the next bill.

“In CARES Act 4, he’s looking to substantially bump up money for education, supporting our schools, supporting our families. He’s talked about payouts, stimulus payout to Americans,” she said. “It’s something he’s mentioned for a Phase 4. He’s talked about a payroll tax holiday, which would be a big tax break for America’s workers.”

The ethanol industry took one of the biggest hits during the pandemic but was largely left out of support legislation. The Renewable Fuels Association is asking the Senate to back language included in a House-passed bill.

“Urging the Senate to include the same program, in their version of whatever they come up with, in terms of the next COVID-19 relief bill,” CEO Geoff Cooper said.

Agriculture is also looking for liability protection to limit COVID-19 related lawsuits against producers and packing plants. The measure has the House divided along party lines, with Republicans in favor.

To apply for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, click HERE.

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