On May 12, Reps. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (Pa.-15) and Dwight Evans (Pa.-03) introduced the “Assistance and Gratitude for Coronavirus Heroes in Agribusiness who are Invaluable to the Nation,” or the AG CHAIN Act. The bill is an extension of the previously introduced GROCER Act. The bill would provide a federal tax holiday and a payroll tax exemption for all essential employees in the food and agriculture industry defined by recent Department of Homeland Security guidance, according to a press release on Thompson’s website.
These provisions would take place from Feb. 15, 2020, through June 15, 2020, for individuals making less than $75,000 annually. The bill would also provide discretion to the Treasury to extend this benefit for an additional three months.
“Food security is national security, and employees in the supply chain are working overtime to ensure crops are harvested, shelves and coolers are stocked, and Americans have food on the table,” Thompson said. “These men and women provide a critical service day in and day out and we are particularly grateful for their commitment to feeding and fueling the nation as we continue to address the challenges associated with COVID-19.”
The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) said it applauds the bill’s introduction.
“The essential men and women working on the front lines every day in our food industry — despite the challenges posed by coronavirus — deserve the recognition and support of the federal government in these trying times,” said Michael Dykes, D.V.M., president and CEO of Washington, D.C.-based IDFA. “That’s why we urge members of Congress to lend their bipartisan support to the bill sponsored by Congressmen Thompson and Evans, which would provide targeted financial relief to food industry workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis. The AG CHAIN Act will ensure that these workers get more than a pat on the back for their invaluable efforts.”