HR 748 Coronavirus Relief Bill
Congress passed HR 748, the Coronavirus Relief Package on March 27, 2020. The bill now goes to the president's desk for signature.
Click here for the full text of the bill.
USDA & Food Programs. USDA would receive:
- $15.8 billion in mandatory funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly called food stamps, of which $100 million would be used for food distribution on American Indian reservations. $15.5 billion is slated for a contingency fund to cover food costs and any surge in enrollment fueled by an expected increase in unemployment because of layoffs and business closures. The remaining $300 million would provide grants of $100 million for food distribution on Indian reservations and $200 million for nutrition programs in the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and American Samoa.
• $8.8 billion for child nutrition programs.
• $450 million for the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), of which $150 million could be used for costs associated with distribution.
The measure would allow the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) to use as much as $14 billion in previous funding to reimburse net realized losses.
The increase in borrowing authority raised concerns among some Senate Democrats because the Trump administration tapped the CCC for a total of nearly $23 billion in trade aid payments in 2018 and 2019. Critics say the payment distribution favored large farmers.
The Senate rescue bill for agriculture and food also includes:
• $8.8 billion for child nutrition programs, including the school lunch program.
• $450 million for commodity food purchases for emergency food assistance through food banks and other nonprofit groups.
• $100 million for continuing a pilot project to expand broadband service to rural communities.
• $4 million for the Foreign Agricultural Service, which promotes and develops export markets for U.S. farm goods, to cover costs of moving overseas employees and their families back to the United States.
• $33 million for the Food Safety and Inspection Service to hire temporary and part-time workers and to cover relocation costs for temporary inspectors.
• $20.5 million for a subsidy that will allow $1 billion in lending authority for the Business and Industry loan guarantee program for rural businesses.