As Hilde reported on Tuesday, Russ Feingold (D-WI) and Kay Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced an amendment to the Helping Families Save their Homes Act of 2009 to provide foreclosure protection to family farmers. While the final amendment was not as strong as we would have hoped (guaranteeing that any banks accepting bailout funds be required to restructure farm loans in the same way they are being required to restructure home loans), the final amendment that was passed in the Senate on Tuesday is a step in the right direction.
The Feingold-Gillibrand Amendment requires the Congressional Oversight Panel for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to promptly examine whether lenders that have taken bailout funds should help farmers and ranchers restructure their loans. Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT), chair of the Banking Committee, also committed to help bring the USDA and Treasury together to talk with farmers and farm groups about their concern.
As Feingold said, this is "an important step toward raising the profile of farmers and ranchers facing foreclosure in these tough economic times… If the government is going to help lending institutions with bailouts, those institutions should be doing what they can to help keep all Americans in their homes and this amendment and meeting are important steps in making sure this includes farmers and ranchers."
As always, we'll keep you up to date and let you know what you can do to take action!
Here is the press release from Senator Feingold’s office.