“We Are Going To Be Able To Feed This Country, But Only If We Keep The Farmers In Business,” Miss. Senator Says
U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) today argued for sustaining agriculture production in Mississippi and the United States with provisions in a Phase 3 Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) relief package, now stalled by Democratic filibusters.
Hyde-Smith, in a Senate floor speech, focused on supporting farmers and ranchers in the pending Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). Democrats have objected to provisions in the bill allowing the U.S. Department of Agriculture to assist cattle producers, among others, during the COVID-19 national emergency.
“Anyone who has been on social media has seen the empty shelves in the grocery stores throughout the country,” Hyde-Smith said. “The last shortage we need right now is within our American farmers. We are going to be able to feed this country, but only if we keep the farmers in business.”
“I want to stress the importance of making sure the farmers and ranchers, including those wonderful farmers and ranchers in the state of Mississippi and throughout the country, can continue to do what they were born to do, and that is to produce our ag products to make sure this country will continue to sustain itself,” she said.
Democrats have expressed opposition to a provision included in Division B – Emergency Appropriations for Coronavirus Health Response and Agency Operations – of the comprehensive CARES ACT. This provision would reimburse the USDA Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) to prevent delays in program funding for U.S. agriculture. It would also raise CCC borrowing authority temporarily to ensure the USDA has the resources necessary to assist producers during the COVID-19 national emergency.
U.S. cattle prices have plunged 20 percent in 2020, and continue to decline along with other commodity markets. On March 16, live cattle, feeder cattle, and lean hog futures all hit new contract lows.
“Democrats want billions for domestic food programs, but what happens when those supplying our food go out of business?” Hyde-Smith said. “This is a trillion-plus-dollar package, and as the senior Senator from Nebraska states, we cannot leave our farmers and ranchers out, the backbone of America.”
Senate Democrats blocked an effort to proceed to the CARES Act on Sunday evening and again on Monday. The legislation requires 60 votes to break the filibuster and proceed to the third COVID-19 relief measures.
Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith Press Release