Washington – Today Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05) announced that the House Agriculture Committee has advanced his bipartisan WHIP+ Reauthorization Act. This legislation would reactivate the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+) for all 2020 and 2021 natural disasters. It was introduced by Members of Congress from both parties who represent Western states hit hard by 2020 fires and boosts a program that is an important lifeline for agricultural producers whose crops were damaged by disaster, including smoke from fires.
“From extreme fires to historic drought, our district and our nation have seen devastating disasters this year and last year. The Federal government must provide every tool and resource possible as we rebuild. That includes supporting family farmers and producers who had their crops ruined by smoke damage in the 2020 fires in our district,” said Thompson, whose district continues to recover from the LNU Lightning Complex and Glass Fires of 2020. “Earlier this year, I introduced the WHIP+ Reauthorization Act to ensure we reactivate the critical Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus to help agricultural producers in our district. Today I’m glad to see my bipartisan bill approved by the Agriculture Committee and I’ll work to ensure it’s considered on the House floor as soon as possible.”
“I’m glad that we were able to come together in a bipartisan way to pass this bill that, once enacted, will provide the framework for getting much needed disaster assistance to our agricultural producers. As we can see right now, today, through the ravaging fires through so many of our western agriculture states in our country, our unanimous, bipartisan bill is most timely and very much needed. I am very proud of the bipartisan work on this disaster bill today by both Democrats and Republicans, working together for our great nation. As we know, severe and unforeseen weather events wreaked havoc on crops and livestock throughout 2020 and continue now during the 2021 growing season. It is my hope and expectation that as a Committee, we continue to focus on disaster relief and engage every opportunity available to strengthen the farm safety net and find a way to get immediate disaster aid out to our farmers, ranchers, and foresters more quickly without delays,” said Agriculture Committee Chairman David Scott.
Thompson first introduced the WHIP+ Reauthorization Act in November 2020 and reintroduced it in January 2021. The bill has been amended to reauthorize WHIP+ for 2020 and 2021 disasters and to provide relief for a broad range of events, including wildfires, hurricanes, drought, high winds or derechos, freeze, polar vortexes and excessive heat. Amendments also changed the eligibility requirements for drought from a D3 declaration to a D2 declaration for at least 8 consecutive weeks. It was coauthored by Representatives Jimmy Panetta (CA-20), Peter DeFazio (OR-04), Barbara Lee (CA-13), and Dan Newhouse (WA-04). You can click here to read the full text and click here to watch today’s committee markup. Learn more about the WHIP+ program here.
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