Florida Lawmakers Propose Nonpartisan Bill to Offer Emergency Agricultural Assistance

Florida Lawmakers Propose Nonpartisan Bill to Offer Emergency Agricultural Assistance

Mateo Guillamont
Mateo Guillamont
|
July 5, 2023

Several members of Florida's congressional delegation have introduced a bill to authorize emergency agricultural assistance.

Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D) introduced measure H.R. 4464, with Representatives Scott Franklin (R), Kat Cammack (R), and Darren Soto (D) co-sponsoring.

The move belongs to a broader legislative initiative regarding agricultural legislation focused on aiding Florida farmers.

Specifically, H.R. 4464 amends the Agricultural Act of 2014 to authorize emergency assistance for high-value crop losses.

Overarching H.R.4464 is the Restore Agricultural Investment, Stability and Expansion (RAISE) Act of 2023. The act would give the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) more authority to support American farmers and growers, especially after natural disasters.

“After extreme hurricane seasons like the one Florida experienced last year, growers cannot afford to navigate bureaucratic obstacles to get the help they need,” said Rep. Franklin. “I’m pleased that earlier this month the House unanimously passed our bill to give the USDA block grant authority to expedite disaster relief for agricultural producers still recovering from Hurricanes Ian and Nicole. This commonsense initiative would make this authority permanent ensuring the federal government can respond as quickly as possible to future emergencies.”

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Rep. Wasserman Schultz underscored the federal government “needs every tool at hand” to support farmers.

“Congress needs to have the back of America’s farmers, and I’m proud to work across the aisle to make sure the crops and agricultural resources that fuel this great nation and its families are protected from increasingly extreme weather threats,," stated Rep. Wasserman Schultz.

The agricultural relief bill would belong to the larger Farm Bill that Congress and, if passed, President Joe Biden are expected to codify. Congress quinquennially passes all-encompassing legislation directing national agriculture, conservation, and forestry policy. Such legislation is commonly referred to as ‘The Farm Bill’.

 

Kat Cammack
Kat Cammack

The previous farm bill was enshrined in 2018 and allocated over $867 billion over ten years to various agricultural programs. The 2023 farm bill is projected to reduce funding to increase funding to $709 billion over the next five years and $1.5 trillion over the next ten years.

As the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry minority analysis describes, "compared to the cost of the 2018 farm bill at enactment of $867 billion, the 2023 farm bill will represent a $640 billion or 74% increase in spending – primarily driven by increases in SNAP outlays."

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Mateo Guillamont

Mateo Guillamont

Mateo is a Miami-based political reporter covering national and local politics

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