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Arrington Supports Huge Legislative Win for Texas Agriculture

WASHINGTON, DC— Today, the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+) passed out of the House Agriculture Committee with unanimous support. Congressman Jodey Arrington (TX-19) has long championed this program as it provides a critical safety net for producers nationwide. Rep. Arrington will continue to work with House Leadership and the Texas Delegation to ensure final passage of this bipartisan legislation.  

“I commend the House Agriculture Committee for passage of bipartisan legislation to reauthorize disaster relief, including the Wildfire Hurricane Indemnity Program (WHIP), for our producers who have experienced historic and widespread production losses due to severe drought. I want to thank Congressmen Cuellar and Jackson for their leadership on this legislation, and the entire Texas Delegation for their efforts to make this passage a reality.” said Rep. Jodey Arrington (TX-19).

“The ag community has been through a lot in the last year due to market turmoil caused by COVID-19 and disastrous weather events. I am committed to being a part of the solution so we can make sure our farmers and ranchers emerge from these setbacks stronger than ever before. I thank Chairman Scott and Ranking Member Thompson for their efforts to include my legislative text in the larger disaster relief bill, and I look forward to seeing this process through to it becoming law. Congressman Cuellar has been an outstanding partner to work with and I thank him for joining me in support of Texas agriculture,” said Rep. Ronny Jackson (TX-13).

“Texas farmers and ranchers have suffered catastrophic losses from a global pandemic and historic winter storms. The winter freeze in February proved just how critical expanding the WHIP+ Program to cover damages incurred by hailstorms, freezes, polar vortexes, and extreme wind events is to the Texas agricultural community. This critical disaster coverage will bring much-needed relief to farmers and ranchers as they recover from the winter storms, and I am proud to stand up for our nation’s agricultural community and cosponsor this bipartisan legislation,” said Rep. Kevin Brady (TX-8).

“We must prioritize critical assistance to our South Texas rural communities who ensured food remained on grocery shelves throughout the country, during the pandemic. That is why I am pleased that the House Agriculture Committee will include bipartisan provisions from the RESTORE Act in their disaster legislation—legislation that I helped introduce in order to expand protections, provide direct aid, and safeguard solvency for the 250,000 farms and ranches in Texas. I want to thank my fellow Texan, Congressman Ronny Jackson, for his leadership on this effort,” said Rep. Henry Cuellar (TX-28). 

“In the coastal region of Texas, the hard work of farmers and ranchers could be devastated at any moment due to a hurricane. We witnessed farmers and ranchers throughout the state lose $600 million of their yield a few months as a result of the winter storm. Crop insurance has always provided a lifeline to farmers when disaster strikes. However, support from the WHIP+ can help farmers traverse the uncertainty of potentially disastrous weather events, giving them more support to prepare for the next season,” said Rep. Michael Cloud (TX-27). 

“With the ever-increasing challenges for farm and ranch operators, a strong and durable safety net is critical to producers as they provide the food and fiber we depend on. I am proud to have advocated for this relief alongside my Texas colleagues and thank Ranking Member Thompson for his efforts to have this critical provision included in today’s markup,” said Rep. August Pfluger (TX-11). 

“Our nation’s farmers have watched multiple catastrophic disasters wreak havoc on their products. This year, farmers from Texas District Four have dealt with Winter Storm Uri, massive amounts of flooding, and a light freeze in late Spring. Conditions like these result in deficiencies, disease, and losses, that have the ability to bankrupt the people who put food on our tables. The RESTORE Act is a great step towards providing disaster assistance to our nation’s farmers, by recreating the WHIP+ program. I am pleased to see the bipartisan effort to bring this bill to markup in the House Committee on Agriculture,” said Rep. Pat Fallon (TX-04). 

“At the beginning of this year, the Lone Star State endured a disastrous winter storm, and the agriculture industry suffered many of its consequences. The food supply chain is a delicate ecosystem that requires our attention. The RESTORE Act will deliver disaster aid to the men and women who toil, day in and day out, to ensure a steady food supply for the American people. I applaud Congressmen Ronny Jackson (TX-13) and Henry Cuellar (TX-28) for going to bat for our great Texan producers,” said Rep. Pete Sessions (TX-17).

“Central and South Texas producers suffered historic losses in this year’s winter freeze. I’m proud to support this important bipartisan bill that is going to uplift our farmers and ranchers in the 15th District of Texas,” said Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15). 

“Plains Cotton Growers, Inc., greatly appreciates and supports House Agriculture Committee Chairman David Scott (D-GA) and Ranking Member Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) for advancing H.R. 267, the 2020 WHIP+ Reauthorization Act.  H.R. 267 as amended would extend the WHIP+ program for the 2020 and 2021 calendar year respectively. The legislation also includes several key provisions that would improve WHIP+ including expanding the list of qualified losses covered by WHIP+ and resolve to an issue known as the J Code, which has previously rendered some applicants’ ineligible for benefits. Plains Cotton Growers, Inc. is proud to support this legislation and looks forward to working with Congress to enact this needed relief for agriculture,” said Plains Cotton Growers, Inc. CEO Kody Bessent.

Co-sponsors of the RESTORE Act include Representatives Kevin Brady (TX-08), Michael Burgess (TX-26), Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15), Michael Cloud (TX-27), Brian Babin (TX-36), Pete Sessions (TX-17), Randy Weber (TX-14), Louie Gohmert (TX-01), Beth Van Duyne (TX-24), August Pfluger (TX-11), Tony Gonzales (TX-23), Pat Fallon (TX-04), and Tom Cole (OK-04).