Lawmakers Set To Break, No Disaster Aid Bill Yet

Disaster Aid Battle 041219
Washington D.C. ( Betsy Jibben )

Lawmakers are set to leave Washington D.C. for two weeks. As for right now, they may take off without passing a disaster aid bill.

Congress has been back and forth and has so far failed to reach a resolution on a multi-billion dollar disaster aid bill.

Disagreements in the Senate mean that the issue will be punted until after the two-week Easter recess. Some leaders say relief for Hurricane Michael is overdue.

“For months we were promised this was a priority for the White House and congressional leadership on both sides of the aisle,” said U.S. Representative Austin Scott, representing the 8th District of Georgia. “If the senate cannot pass a bill to provide this federal disaster assistance, the bottom line is farm bankruptcies will continue.”

The hold-up includes assistance for Puerto Rico and the amount which could aid for the latest flooding in the Midwest. There are busted bins due to the Midwestern Flooding, which is not covered under crop insurance. That’s a problem Congress is looking into as well.

Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley says it's hard to put a dollar figure on the bill because the total damage still needs to be assessed, especially with busted bins.

“I’ve been told by the leadership of the Appropriations Committee that they are going to provide legal authority for people that have grain loss,” said Grassley. “[They] will be considered for help under the usual disaster legislation that we have for other crops in agriculture.”

Even though a bill has yet to be passed, Grassley believes legislative language will be updated in a disaster aid bill.

AgDay national reporter Betsy Jibben has the story. She has reaction from U.S. Representative Austin Scott, representing the 8th District of Georgia. She also talks with Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley.

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