U.S. Rep. Travis Childers said he fears it will be tough for many Mississippi farmers, hit first by drought and then by drenching rains, to survive financially without emergency help from Congress.
Childers, D-Miss., is among the Southern lawmakers seeking at least $2.1 billion in aid for farmers and ranchers affected by adverse weather this year. The lawmakers say existing federal programs cannot provide the help needed fast enough, and it could be a year before a disaster program, authorized in the 2008 federal farm bill but not yet fully in place, provides payments.
Childers said lawmakers are seeking “any avenue” to pass legislation, pending in both houses of Congress, that eyes money available through the government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program to cover the cost. With the end of the year fast approaching, and legislators eager to get out of Washington for the holidays, he said “time is really our biggest enemy right now.”