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Newhouse-Led Disaster Relief Bill Signed Into Law

October 1, 2021
Press Release
Legislation will provide relief to Central Washington producers impacted by wildfires, drought, and excessive heat

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) released the following statement after President Joe Biden signed into law H.R. 5305 – Extending Government Funding and Delivering Emergency Assistance Act (Continuing Resolution), which included $28.6 billion in emergency supplemental appropriations for natural disasters occurring as far back as 2019 and Rep. Newhouse’s legislation, H.R. 267, the 2020 WHIP+ Reauthorization Act. This legislation includes coverage for losses of crops (including smoke-tainted wine grapes, excessive heat and Quality Loss Assistance) occurring in calendar year 2020 and 2021. In addition, $10 billion of the emergency supplemental appropriations were designated for the 2020 WHIP+ Reauthorization Act.

“Producers across Central Washington and the West are all too familiar with the damage that wildfires, smoke, excessive heat and drought can do to their lives and livelihood,” said Rep. Newhouse. “WHIP+ is a necessary resource for many producers as they continue to recover from this year’s devastating wildfires, excessive heat, and drought conditions in our region – while facing new threats every day. I am glad to see this much-needed legislation make its way to the President’s desk and be signed into law.”

Click here to read the text of the bill.

Background:

Rep. Newhouse first introduced the WHIP+ Reauthorization Act in November 2020 and reintroduced it in January 2021. In July 2021 it passed the House Committee on Agriculture.

The bill was amended by the Agriculture Committee 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, excessive heat, and smoke taint. The amended legislation also changed the eligibility requirements for drought from a D3 declaration to a D2 declaration for at least 8 consecutive weeks.

The Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act of 2019 authorized the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+) to help agricultural producers affected by natural disasters in 2018 and 2019.  WHIP+ covers losses of crops, trees, bushes, and vines that occurred as a result of hurricanes, wildfires, and other qualifying natural disasters. Click here to learn more about the WHIP+ program.

 

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