Rep. Jackson Rejects Bureaucracy, Tells USDA to Do Its Job
I recently sent a letter with bipartisan support to Secretary Vilsack of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) urging him to administer disaster relief aid programs that were approved by Congress last year.
- In September 2021, Congress authorized supplemental disaster relief for agricultural producers who suffered weather-related, catastrophic losses in 2020 and 2021.
- These reauthorized programs, such as language I authored to extend the Wildfire Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+), provide critical resources to Texas ag producers who help feed and clothe the world.
- As of January 2022, the USDA has yet to administer the WHIP+ program.
I said: “Last year, I introduced the RESTORE Act to provide critical disaster relief assistance to hard-working Texas farmers who’ve seen their livelihoods crushed by extreme weather conditions like the unprecedented winter storm and excessive drought. I worked with my colleagues on a bipartisan basis to include language from the RESTORE Act in a larger disaster relief bill for farmers; namely, to extend the WHIP+ program. It was a great accomplishment to see this bill signed into law. The Biden Administration has yet to administer the WHIP+ program, depriving our farmers of the resources Congress made available to them. The legislative branch did its job, and it is past time the executive branch followed suit. This is bureaucracy at its finest, something I know Texans won’t stand for. I’m glad to join my Texas colleagues in urging Secretary Vilsack to do his job and see this important program through immediately.”
Rep. Jodey Arrington (TX-19) said: “Congress worked in historic, bipartisan fashion to authorize $10 billion in disaster relief for our agriculture producers. Unfortunately, USDA has failed to provide any information about their plan or timeline for distributing this critical assistance. Over the last year, producers have endured labor shortages, skyrocketing input costs, barriers to global markets due to supply chain congestion, and severe weather. Now, unacceptable bureaucratic delays are creating more uncertainty for agribusinesses who need this relief to cover losses from natural disasters and prepare for next year’s planting season. I am proud to lead this bipartisan letter with my Texas colleagues urging USDA to immediately address delays in access to assistance.”
Rep. August Pfluger (TX-11) said: “Congress authorized disaster relief programs for agricultural producers who suffered major losses in 2020 and 2021, yet this relief has been delayed without explanation. The United States Department of Agriculture needs to move swiftly, and Texas farmers and ranchers deserve to know the agency’s timeline for distributing the assistance. I am proud to join with my colleagues to ensure our producers receive the assistance they need.”
The letter can be found here. I am a Co-Chair of the Texas Agriculture Task Force.
Representatives Jodey Arrignton (TX-19), August Pfluger (TX-11), Dan Crenshaw (TX-02), Colin Allred (TX-32), Kay Granger (TX-12), Tony Gonzales (TX-23), Beth Van Duyne (TX-24), Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15), Pete Sessions (TX-17), Marc Veasey (TX-33), Lance Gooden (TX-05), Brian Babin (TX-36), Troy Nehls (TX-22), Michael Cloud (TX-27), and Jake Ellzey (TX-06) also co-signed the letter.