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The National Milk Producers Federation today thanked Congress for sending bipartisan legislation to President Trump that extends government funding until Dec. 11 and urged Congress and the White House to reach agreement on another coronavirus relief package.
“We are glad Congress reached a government funding deal that provides important support to farmers and families who have weathered incredibly difficult challenges all year long,” said NMPF president and CEO Jim Mulhern. “This measure not only avoids a government shutdown; it also ensures that additional COVID-19 assistance can be provided as further needs arise and provides important nutrition assistance to families in need.”
The legislation passed by the House and Senate immediately replenishes the borrowing authority for USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation. The CCC funds farm bill initiatives, including the Dairy Margin Coverage Program, as well as the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, the second installment of which Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced earlier this month. Notably, it includes $8 billion in nutrition assistance and extends flexibility for school districts to make meals more affordable and accessible for students during the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic.
NMPF hopes that, with the government funding debate resolved, Congress and the administration will now agree on another coronavirus relief bill. The House earlier this week released a revised version of its Heroes Act, which again includes important provisions such as a dairy product donation program that would help farmers and consumers. NMPF is continuing its push for additional, equitable support to all producers that reflects the losses they have suffered, no matter the size of the operation.
“The House and Senate both provide support for agriculture in their coronavirus relief proposals, and the House is reaffirming that support,” Mulhern said. “Congress and the administration need to bridge their differences and finalize a bipartisan plan that continues to provide needed disaster assistance to all dairy producers. The issues are challenging, but we believe policymakers are up to the task.”