By Julian Hattem - 10/19/13 05:05 PM EDT
Fourteen senators from both sides of the aisle are unhappy that the Obama administration instituted a cut to a loan program designed to help farmers when harvest prices are low.
This week, the lawmakers sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom VilsackThomas J. VilsackUSDA: Farm-to-school programs help schools serve healthier meals OVERNIGHT MONEY: House poised to pass debt-ceiling bill MORE expressing “serious concern” about cuts to the lending program, known as marketing assistance loans, as well as a decision to delay processing loans while the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) updates its software.
The decision, they wrote in the letter, could force farmers to turn to more expensive sources of credit during harvest, change future contracts and hurt farmers’ profits.
“This means growers, marketing cooperatives, private merchandizing firms, and agribusinesses were unable to make alternative plans to mitigate the financial hardship imposed by the decisions.”
On Sept. 30, the USDA decided to apply 5.1 percent cut to marketing assistance loans made after Oct. 1.
The department also announced that it would delay processing some loans by two weeks. That holdup was pushed back to this week because of the 16-day government shutdown.
“Without the predictable cash flow that Marketing Assistance Loans provide, producers will not be able to repay or extend their operating loans which will lead to additional interest charges if growers are unable to avoid defaulting on their financial obligations,” they added.
The senators who sent the letter are Sens. Thad CochranThad CochranFirst US Zika death reported in Puerto Rico Overnight Healthcare: Medicare fight looms on Capitol Hill Senate GOP hardening stance against emergency funding for Zika MORE (R-Miss.), Saxby ChamblissSaxby ChamblissWyden hammers CIA chief over Senate spying Cruz is a liability Inside Paul Ryan’s brain trust MORE (R-Ga.), John BoozmanJohn BoozmanBringing US rice back to Cuba Senate passes energy reform bill Capitol Hill’s forest champions helped secure win for wood MORE (R-Ark.), Richard BurrRichard BurrThe Trail 2016: The establishment comes around Intel leaders push controversial encryption draft Moulitsas: 2016 dim for GOP MORE (R-N.C.), John CornynJohn CornynFirst US Zika death reported in Puerto Rico Senate confirms Obama's long-stalled ambassador to Mexico Overnight Healthcare: Medicare fight looms on Capitol Hill MORE (R-Texas), Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamGraham: Iran ‘giving Obama the diplomatic finger’ The Hill's 12:30 Report GOP warms to Trump MORE (R-S.C.), Kay HaganKay Hagan10 Senate seats most likely to flip in 2016 Senate Republicans are feeling the 'Trump effect' Washington's lobby firms riding high MORE (D-N.C.), James InhofeJames InhofeThree more Republican senators to meet with Supreme Court nominee Senate unveils B waterways bill with aid for Flint 0 million Flint aid package included in water bill MORE (R-Okla.), Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonSenate approves new Veterans Affairs watchdog Overnight Regulation: Republicans move to block financial adviser rule Senate Republicans move to block financial adviser rule MORE (R-Ga.), Mary LandrieuMary Landrieu oil is changing the world and Washington Ex-Sen. Kay Hagan joins lobby firm Republican announces bid for Vitter’s seat MORE (D-La.), Mark PryorMark PryorEx-Sen. Kay Hagan joins lobby firm Top Democrats are no advocates for DC statehood Ex-Sen. Landrieu joins law and lobby firm MORE (D-Ark.), Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), David VitterDavid VitterSenators aim to bolster active shooter training 5 takeaways from Mike Lee’s leadership bid Republicans demand shift in Obama’s ISIS strategy MORE (R-La.), and Roger WickerRoger WickerOvernight Healthcare: Senate making headway on Zika funding DNC head: Republicans ‘dropping like flies’ from convention Campaign chief to vulnerables: Stay away from GOP convention MORE (R-Miss.).