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In FY 2021 Appropriations Bill, Pingree Pushes USDA Secretary to Act on Trump’s Lobster Industry Relief Memo

Washington, July 9, 2020

As a member of the U.S. House Appropriations Committee, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) today offered an amendment to the fiscal year 2021 funding bill urging USDA to immediately act on President Trump’s June 24th memorandum to provide relief funds to the lobster industry. Pingree’s amendment will direct the USDA Secretary to review President Trump’s memorandum and prioritize appropriate assistance to the lobster industry.

“While farmers received tariff relief from the Trump administration, our lobstermen remained off the President’s priority list despite being among the hardest hit by his trade war with China. Although the signing of his memo was welcome news weeks have passed without any action from the USDA,” said Pingree. “I hope my amendment to the Fiscal Year 2021 funding bill is adopted  so that our lobstermen can receive the financial aid they need to mitigate the impact of President Trump’s trade war and the economic downturn caused by COVID-19.”

Though President Trump’s memo encouraged the USDA “to provide assistance to fisherman and producers in the U.S. lobster industry that continue to be harmed by China’s retaliatory tariffs” the Agriculture Secretary has yet to issue rule changes based on the President’s non-binding directive.

Since last June, Pingree has worked with Maine’s congressional delegation to offset the  financial toll President Trump’s trade war has had on the state’s seafood industry.

Today the full House Appropriations Committee will begin marking up each of the 12 subcommittees' fiscal year 2021 funding bills. Pingree partakes in the subcommittee markups as the Vice Chair of the subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies and as a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittees relative to Agriculture-Rural Development-FDA and Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies.

Once passed by the House Appropriations Committee, the FY2021 Agriculture-Rural Development-FDA funding bill next goes to the House floor for a vote on passage. A final agreement between the House and Senate on FY21 government funding must be reached by September 30, 2020.

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