Iowa Republicans Are Awful Quiet About Farm Loan Forgiveness

Where’s the outrage from Iowa Republicans?

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced $1.3 billion in debt relief for farmers who face foreclosure or have fallen behind on their loan payments.

The farm loan relief program is funded by $3.1 billion set aside in the Inflation Reduction Act for people who had loans administered by the USDA. No Iowa Republican voted for the Inflation Reduction Act.

“Through no fault of their own, our nation’s farmers and ranchers have faced incredibly tough circumstances over the last few years. The funding included in today’s announcement helps keep our farmers farming and provides a fresh start for producers in challenging positions,” Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said when announcing the forgiveness.

And Republicans including Gov. Kim Reynolds, who took President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness program to court, don’t seem bothered.

Loan forgiveness is a good thing for people who are struggling, but Republicans spent a lot of time criticizing student loan forgiveness. And so far, they haven’t commented on the USDA announcement unless asked.

When asked by Radio Iowa, Rep. Ashley Hinson of Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District said it’s fundamentally different from the $10,000 or $20,000 given to Americans with student loans, with income caps at $125,000 (or $250,000 for couples).

“That plan is different from the student loan debt plan,” Hinson says. “The student loan debt plan is just a transfer of those dollars. It’s a handout to people who may be making more than someone or someone who chose not to go to college has to pay off someone else’s debt that they legally incurred and signed on the dotted line.”

Hinson called student loan forgiveness a slap in the face to people who didn’t go to college or who had already paid off their loans. She also said it was a handout to the wealthy, despite the income cap.

The farm debt forgiveness doesn’t have an income cap.

According to the Associated Press, 14,000 financially distressed farm borrowers facing cash flow problems who ask for help to avoid missing a loan payment will receive additional assistance. Up to $175 million will be available for this program.

Each farmer with a direct loan received about $52,000 and those with guaranteed loans received about $172,000. The total cost for this group is nearly $600 million.

And $200 million has been used for 2,100 farm borrowers after their loans had been foreclosed, but who still owed money. The USDA said farmers, on average, received $101,000.

Reynolds hasn’t said anything about the USDA loan forgiveness either, despite her criticism of student loan forgiveness.

“At a time of skyrocketing inflation, declining wages, and a national recession, Washington has again turned its back on hardworking Americans in Iowa and across this country,” she said in a statement.

Reynolds also called the loan forgiveness an insult to working people and she signed onto a lawsuit against the Biden administration over the program.

The lawsuit was rejected by a US District Court judge but reopened by the 8th US Circuit Court of Appeals, which has paused the student loan forgiveness program. However, that shouldn’t discourage people from applying for relief, according to the White House.

Sen. Chuck Grassley said student loan relief would fuel inflation and said it was unfair, but he didn’t comment on the farm forgiveness, either.

“Ppl making up to $125,000 or a couple making up to $250,000 are getting student loans paid for by everyone else who didn’t go to college or paid their own loans. Will fuel further inflation hurting those who can least afford it UNFAIR.”

In fact, over the last 20 years, records show Grassley and his family have collected more than $1.75 million in federal farm subsidies. He has not publicly commented on the latest farm relief program.

 

Nikoel Hytrek
11/01/22

Have a story idea or something I should know? Email me at nikoel@iowastartingline.com. You can also DM me on Twitter at @n_hytrek

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1 Comment on "Iowa Republicans Are Awful Quiet About Farm Loan Forgiveness"

  • And just what kind of Iowa farming are we taxpayers bailing out? The kind that uses riparian buffers, cover crops, prairie strips, extended crop rotation, etc. to protect soil and water? Or the kind that only uses ineffective “conservation tillage,” so-called? It’s a sad commentary on Iowa’s ag politics that as far as I’ve seen, no one is even asking.

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