From the Fence Post:
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn., said today that he is so horrified by the government’s response to agriculture and food amid the coronavirus pandemic that he will conduct a broad investigation into the Agriculture Department’s powers and propose legislation to deal with future situations such as the arrival of African swine fever in the United States.
Noting that his callers who ask why farmers are dumping milk, plowing under fruits and vegetables and euthanizing animals included actor Richard Gere, Peterson told reporters by telephone, “I am sick and tired of answering questions that I can’t answer. After this is over, we will have an answer or I won’t be chairman of the ag committee anymore.”
Peterson also said that he will propose increasing the budget for the Agriculture Department’s Commodity Credit Corporation, a line of credit at the Treasury used to aid farmers in distress, from $30 billion per fiscal year to $68 billion, but only if the legislation requires that the agriculture secretary seek approval from the chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate Agriculture committees before spending the money.
Peterson noted that CCC’s allowance to spend $30 billion per year with automatic reimbursement from Congress was established in the 1980s and that the $68 billion would allow the account to keep up with inflation. Peterson said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., would support the proposal and that Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., told him that he believes there would be support for the idea in the Senate.