Push for Disaster Relief Pt 2

Push for Disaster Relief Pt 2

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. Northwest Congressional members are teaming up, urging the USDA to pick up the pace for sending out relief payments to those impacted by extreme temps, drought and wildfires this year.

U.S. Representative Dan Newhouse is on that team, saying he knows of no timeline for that assistance …

NEWHOUSE … “Not that I have heard, but that would be refreshing if we were able to get that response, but I don’t know that.”

Another frustration, Newhouse says is USDA staffing …

NEWHOUSE … “Here we are 10 months into this new administration and we still have staff positions throughout the FSA offices around the country, I know for sure in the state of Washington, that have not been filled. And so there again, we have a tremendous amount of need on the part of our producers and nobody in those positions to make decisions, let alone answer questions for our producers to be able to get the assistance that they need.”

Newhouse says that just doesn’t help …

NEWHOUSE … “We are urging the agency to please, please fill these positions. It’s, like I said, we’re almost a year in and still a lot of offices are empty.”

And that, Newhouse says has to change …

NEWHOUSE … “I believe it’s part of my job to push the bureaucracy, to get them to be responsive to the people they serve. And, there’s no excuse for dragging their feet.”

Congress provided $10-billion to cover qualifying losses as part of the WHIP+ (Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program-Plus) authorization.

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