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 CochranGOP senators voice misgivings about short-term spending bill Trump's wrong to pick Bannon or Sessions for anything Bottom Line 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 BoozmanDeficits could stand in the way of Trump's agenda The untold stories of the 2016 battle for the Senate SENATE: Republicans defy odds to keep majority MORE (R-Ark.), Richard BurrRichard BurrDems pledge to fight Sessions nomination Battle for the Senate: Top of ticket dominates Shakeup on Senate Intel: Warner becomes top Dem MORE (R-N.C.), John CornynJohn CornynLawmakers eye early exit from Washington Victims of Nazi Art theft need Congress to HEAR Overnight Cybersecurity: Last-ditch effort to stop expanded hacking powers fails MORE (R-Texas), Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamA Cabinet position for Petraeus; disciplinary actions for Broadwell after affair Pentagon should have a civilian chief to give peace a chance Lawmakers eye early exit from Washington MORE (R-S.C.), Kay HaganKay HaganGOP senator floats retiring over gridlock 2016’s battle for the Senate: A shifting map The untold stories of the 2016 battle for the Senate MORE (D-N.C.), James InhofeJames InhofeFeds to consider renewed protections for bird species Trump’s nominees may face roadblocks ‘Covert propaganda’ in federal rulemaking MORE (R-Okla.), Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonGOP senators wary of nuking filibuster SENATE: Republicans defy odds to keep majority A banner year for U.S. leadership on aid effectiveness MORE (R-Ga.), Mary LandrieuMary LandrieuFive unanswered questions after Trump's upset victory Pavlich: O’Keefe a true journalist Trump’s implosion could cost GOP in Louisiana Senate race MORE (D-La.), Mark PryorMark PryorCotton pitches anti-Democrat message to SC delegation Ex-Sen. Kay Hagan joins lobby firm Top Democrats are no advocates for DC statehood MORE (D-Ark.), Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), David VitterDavid VitterPoll: Republican holds 14-point lead in Louisiana Senate runoff Louisiana dishes last serving of political gumbo Trump tweets about flag burning, setting off a battle MORE (R-La.), and Roger WickerRoger WickerMarijuana backers worry over AG Sessions Gardner's chief of staff tapped for Senate GOP campaign director GOP braces for Trump’s T infrastructure push MORE (R-Miss.).