As Republicans sue to stop the Biden Administration from handing out student loan relief, rural Republicans are staying curiously quiet about the Biden Administration’s handing out of farmer loan relief:
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that distressed borrowers with qualifying USDA farm loans have already received nearly $800 million in assistance, as part of the $3.1 billion in assistance for distressed farm loan borrowers provided through Section 22006 of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).
…Work has already started to bring some relief to distressed farmers. As of today, over 13,000 borrowers have already benefited from the resources provided under the Inflation Reduction Act as follows:
- Approximately 11,000 delinquent direct and guaranteed borrowers had their accounts brought current. USDA also paid the next scheduled annual installment for these direct loan borrowers giving them peace of mind in the near term.
- Approximately 2,100 borrowers who had their farms foreclosed on and still had remaining debt have had this debt resolved in order to cease debt collections and garnishment relieving that burden that has made getting a fresh start more difficult.
In addition to the automatic assistance already provided, USDA has also outlined steps to administer up to an additional $500 million in payments to benefit the following distressed borrowers:
- USDA will administer $66 million in separate automatic payments, using COVID-19 pandemic relief funds, to support up to 7,000 direct loan borrowers who used FSA’s disaster-set-aside option during the pandemic to move their scheduled payments to the end of their loans.
- USDA is also initiating two case-by-case processes to provide additional assistance to farm loan borrowers. Under the first new process, FSA will review and assist with delinquencies from 1,600 complex cases, including cases in which borrowers are facing bankruptcy or foreclosure. The second new process will add a new option using existing direct loan servicing criteria to intervene more quickly and help an estimated 14,000 financially distressed borrowers who request assistance to avoid even becoming delinquent [USDA, press release, 2022.10.18].
Congressman Dusty Johnson said relieving student loan debt was a “slap in the face” to students who had already paid off their loans. Senator John Thune also called student debt relief a “slap in the face“. But neither Johnson nor Thune seem to have complained about this farm dent relief slapping the faces of farmers who have managed to pay off their combines and quarter-sections without government assistance.