The Senate Agriculture Committee announced a hearing to consider the nomination of Thomas J. Vilsack to be Secretary of Agriculture. The hearing will be held Tuesday, February 2, 2021, at 10:30 am, in room 301 of the Russell Senate Office Building.
Other announcements this week include debt-relief measures for more than 12,000 financially distressed farmers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture will temporarily suspend past-due debt collections and foreclosures for farmers borrowing under two major loan programs administered by the Farm Service Agency, administration officials said. The measure is designed to help farmers hit by the coronavirus pandemic and the economy’s slump with about 10% of borrowers qualifying. “USDA and the Biden Administration are committed to bringing relief and support to farmers, ranchers and producers of all backgrounds and financial status, including by ensuring producers have access to temporary debt relief,” Robert Bonnie, the department’s deputy chief of staff, said in a statement. The government is evaluating ways to improve and address borrowing to keep farmers “earning living expenses, providing for emergency needs and maintaining cash flow,” Bonnie said.
The USDA will temporarily suspend non-judicial foreclosures and wage garnishments and halt referring foreclosures to the Justice Department. The department will also seek to stop foreclosures and evictions already in progress. The administration plans to keep the debt-relief measures in place until the Covid-19 emergency ends, the officials said.
In the House seven new Republicans were named to the House Agriculture Committee, they include the following:
Randy Feenstra of Iowa, (replaces former member Steve King);
Michelle Fischbach of Minnesota, (replaces former Chairman Collin Peterson);
Tracy Mann of Kansas, (replaces former member now Senator Roger Marshall);
Kat Cammack of Florida (replaces former member who retired Ted Yoho);
Barry Moore of Alabama;
Mary Miller of Illinois; and
Michael Cloud of Texas.
In addition, Ranking Member Glenn Thompson R-Pa announced the following returning members to the committee:
Rep. Austin Scott, R-Ga.
Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Ark.
Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn.
Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo.
Rep. Doug LaMalfa, R-Calif.
Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill.
Rep. Rick Allen, R-Ga.
Rep. David Rouzer, R-N.C.
Rep. Trent Kelly, R-Miss.
Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb.
Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-S.D.
Rep. Jim Baird, R-Ind.
Rep. Jim Hagedorn, R-Minn.
Rep. Chris Jacobs, R-N.Y.
Rep. Troy Balderson, R-Ohio