Senate Democrats call for support for pork producers in coronavirus aid package

Senate Democrats call for support for pork producers in coronavirus aid package
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Democratic Sens. Tina SmithTina Flint SmithCook Political Report shifts several Senate races toward Democrats On The Money: GOP mulls short-term unemployment extension | White House, Senate GOP strike deal on B for coronavirus testing Senate Democrats call for support for pork producers in coronavirus aid package MORE (Minn.), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharHouse committee requests hearing with postmaster general amid mail-in voting concerns Biden should pick the best person for the job — not the best woman Senators press Postal Service over complaints of slow delivery MORE (Minn.) and Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinThe Hill's Campaign Report: Who will Biden pick to be his running mate? Don't count out Duckworth in Biden VP race Schumer: Trump should want COVID-19 deal to help GOP election chances MORE (Ill.) asked congressional leadership on Tuesday to provide support for pork producers who have been forced to depopulate pig herds during the coronavirus pandemic in the next relief package. 

In their letter, the senators note that the demand for pork has plummeted with restaurants, schools, offices, and other establishments closed. They requested reimbursements of 85 percent of the value of pork producers’ losses.

“Although many processing facilities have since reopened and are nearing normal capacity, pork producers who have been forced to euthanize their animals are still facing a significant financial burden,” the Democrats wrote.

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They said that producers also need funds for equipment so plants much operate with robust safety measures to protect employees. 

A bipartisan group of senators made a similar request in May, calling for Congress to provide additional funding to the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help pork producers forced to depopulate livestock.

Pork processing plants quickly became hot spots for coronavirus outbreaks, the most prominent example being a Smithfield plant in South Dakota that closed in April. That plant accounts for up to 5 percent of the total U.S. pork production and has since reopened. 

President TrumpDonald John TrumpWhite House sued over lack of sign language interpreters at coronavirus briefings Wife blames Trump, lack of masks for husband's coronavirus death in obit: 'May Karma find you all' Trump authorizes reduced funding for National Guard coronavirus response through 2020 MORE signed an executive order on April 28 to compel meat processing plants to stay open.

Senate Republicans have been meeting this week about what to include in their next coronavirus relief proposal, and Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinTrump won't say if he disagrees with Birx that virus is widespread On The Money: Democratic leaders report 'some progress' in stimulus talks | Prosecutors hint at probe into 'possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization' Democratic leaders report 'some progress' in talks with White House MORE and White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsTrump won't say if he disagrees with Birx that virus is widespread On The Money: Democratic leaders report 'some progress' in stimulus talks | Prosecutors hint at probe into 'possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization' Democratic leaders report 'some progress' in talks with White House MORE met with the caucus Tuesday.