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Disaster Aid Needs to be in Farm Bill Baseline to Reallocate for Safety Net Programs—Grassley

A key farm state senator says there is a legislative path to reallocate some of the billions of dollars in farm disaster aid to farm bill safety net programs, amid the fight over the debt and deficit.

The strategy’s been raised by others as House Republicans fight with President Biden to cut spending before they agree to raise the nation’s borrowing limit.

Find new farm bill dollars by tapping tens of billions in near routine ad hoc disaster spending. Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley sayd; “If it’s in the baseline, it could be reallocated, yes, and I think that’s a good thing to do. The other thing is, if it’s not in the baseline, it could not be done, it’d be spending new money.”

The Congressional Budget Office was expected to release a farm bill baseline this week. Grassley says greatly increased pandemic food stamp spending could also help. Grassley;  “You ought to go back to the level of spending before the pandemic, plus inflation over the last two-years. Now that’s my principle—but I think it’s a reasonable one.”

He says the same on channeling more money into crop insurance; “We set up the crop insurance program to manage disasters ahead of time, or just to manage disasters, so, there should be less need of disaster assistance.”

Instead, more frequent and intense storms, floods, droughts and wildfires have increased the need for help, but also the focus on how to come up with more dollars for standing safety net programs amid tightening budgets.

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