House Appropriations Democrats have done a quick about-face in response to moderate ag members, to keep Market Facilitation Program payments going out to farmers on time.
Top House Democrats in an abrupt reversal have agreed with ag moderates, to include a borrowing limit “fix” for tariff rescue payments in a stopgap spending bill.
Some $12 billion in remaining Market Facilitation Program payments will be delayed, unless lawmakers lift a Commodity Credit Corporation $30 billion borrowing limit in a budget extension bill.
Democratic appropriators were ready to ditch a “fix,” until ag Democrats, including Ag Committee Chair Collin Peterson weighed in, issuing a statement that they would not let their farmers be used as “political pawns” in a battle with the President over his trade tactics.
Senate Finance Chair Chuck Grassley whose panel covers trade said if reports he read are true, “The House is going to put the money in…and it’s being put in…and its being put in at the behest of moderate Democrats.”
Grassley’s information, which his staff says came from the Washington Post, was also confirmed by the American Farm Bureau.
Without a fix, USDA would also have to delay billions of farm bill payments.
Separately, Grassley is confident now, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will allow the US Mexico Canada trade deal, worth billions in new farm exports, to come to a vote.
“Comments that have been made…I don’t hear anything negative. And I did hear a report from a major company in the United States, that evidently, knows Pelosi well, that he figured, from talking to her, that we’re going to get this through the House of Representatives.”
Grassley says a tremendous lobbying effort by farm and other groups across the country will also have an impact in getting USMCA across the finish line.