President Joe Biden sent a request to Congress that includes $2.8 billion in disaster aid for farmers and livestock producers affected by natural disasters.
The overall request the White House has put together is $56 billion. Along with disaster aid for farmers, the package includes another request for just over $1 billion in international food aid. Lawmakers will have to decide if they want to approve the package.
California Democrats highlighted the disaster aid following their request for funds for farmers in California who have been hit by disasters this year. Persistent storms and flooding earlier this year caused an estimated $1.4 billion in damages to California's agricultural operations.
"The devastating storms and flooding we saw earlier this year have been a heavy burden on our state's farmers and growers. Intense rains and catastrophic flooding interrupted planting timelines, left fields so saturated many acres were left unplanted, and even now damage is continuing to roil the deeply important part of our local economies," the lawmakers said. "We applaud the White House for joining us in our push to get Congress to pass an aid package to give them the direct and specific relief they need. We look forward to working with them and Congressional leadership to pass this and other key priorities laid out by President Biden's supplemental request."
The Democratic lawmakers added, "It is imperative that the federal government provide much-needed aid to the agricultural community to allow for a full and timely recovery.
"Without this desperately needed assistance, farmers will not be able to produce the country's fruits and vegetables and the effects will be felt nationwide," they wrote in a letter to the White House earlier this week. Lawmakers involved in the letter included Reps. Salud Carbajal, Julia Brownley, Jim Costa, Zoe Lofgren and Jimmy Panetta.
The disaster request included $9 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as well as $2.8 billion for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for disaster damages.
The $1 billion in international food aid would help replenish USDA Food for Peace grants to respond to global emergency food needs using food commodities grown by U.S. farmers
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