In a statement earlier this week, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack guaranteed Americans that federal funding would be available for farmers who suffered damages from Hurricane Irene. The Hurricane, which swept across the eastern seaboard this week earlier this week, caused significant amounts of damage to infrastructure and farms throughout the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic.
The controversy and fears over the availability of disaster fund was sparked by comments from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Earlier in the week, Cantor stated that he believed FEMA funding for the hurricane should be taken out of other programs and that disaster funds should be balanced by equal spending cuts elsewhere.
Cantor has made similar statements in the face of other natural disasters, such as the tornados in Joplin, Missouri. Fiscal conservatives from both parties say that these cuts are necessary to prevent an increase in the federal deficit. Canton himself has denounced criticism of his statements as “an attempt to try and make a political story out of it.”
Regardless of the motives of Cantor’s statements or those of his detractors, Tom Vilsack has gone to great lengths to guarantee that federal funding will be available to farmers in need. In an interview with CNN earlier this week, Vilsack claimed that he was not worried about his department’s ability to offer aid to struggling farmers.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer