Sen. Chuck Grassley condemned the action by the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives to strip out aide to Iowa’s farmers devastated by last year’s derecho in their $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. The derecho aid was proposed by Republican Rep. Randy Feenstra (Iowa-04) and supported by Democratic Rep. Cindy Axne (Iowa-03). It was adopted by the House Agriculture Committee, but later removed from the final package.
“By stripping out needed aid for Iowa’s farmers, the Democrat-controlled House turned its back on Iowa, and threw one of its own under the bus in the process – all in the name of partisan politics. In all my decades of farming, I’ve never seen the scale of devastation that Iowa suffered by last year’s derecho. Millions of acres of farmland were destroyed and many barns, grain bins and other facilities were leveled. Providing needed assistance should be a non-partisan issue. Yet even after Congressman Feenstra’s amendment was adopted – with the support of Congresswoman Axne – the Democratic leadership decided to reverse course.
“I doubt the fate of this critical amendment would be the same had it been offered by a Democrat. They want to spend almost $2 trillion on a wish list of liberal policies. Sadly Iowa farmers didn’t make the cut. Today, the House betrayed Iowa and signaled that bipartisan assistance to those in need must take a backseat to partisan political priorities,” Grassley said.
The derecho that struck Iowa last august impacted 3.57 million acres of corn and 2.5 million acres of soybeans. Damage from the storm is estimated to total $7.5 billion. The Feenstra amendment would have made derecho-impacted producers in Iowa eligible for an agriculture disaster program that’s already available for those impacted by hurricanes and wildfires.