Sen. Grassley applies for federal farm bailout money for the second time in six months

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Video still of Sen. Chuck Grassley presiding over the Senate Judiciary Committee’s consideration of Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination, Sept. 28, 2018.

Sen. Chuck Grassley wants a share of the $16 billion in federal aid to farms and other agricultural-based businesses the Trump administration announced last week, the Des Moines Register reported on Friday. The aid package includes $14.5 billion in direct payments to farmers, and Grassley, who co-owns a farm in Butler County with his son Robin, will apply for those federal dollars, a spokesperson for Iowa’s senior senator confirmed to the Register.

This is the second time the Trump administration has approved direct payments to farmers affected by its tariff dispute with China. In October, President Trump approved $12 billion bailout package. Grassley was one of two members of Congress who received aid in the earlier bailout. (Sen. Jon Tester, a Montana Democrat, was the other.)

Grassley’s spokesperson did not answer a question about how much the senator received from the federal government in the October aid package. The spokesperson did say that Grassley “receives no special treatment” when he applies for government aid.

That echoes a statement Grassley made last year, after it was reported he was applying for the aid program.

“This is something you get because you are a farmer — equal treatment for everybody,” Grassley said during a conference call with reporters. “It is not something special for Chuck Grassley because he is a senator or Jon Tester.”

During that conference call, Grassley explained he had participated in federal programs that provide financial support for farmers since 1960, when he inherited his father’s 60-acre farm. The farm the senator currently co-owns is 750 acres and grows soybeans and corn.

Like many who receive farm subsidies, Grassley is a millionaire. Using Senate financial disclosure forms, the Center for Responsive Politics estimated Grassley’s net worth at $3.3 million in 2015. His largest asset was his Butler County farm, with an estimated value of $1.2 million. (The estimated median net worth of members of the Senate in 2015 was $3.2 million.)

Responding in 2017 to a report from the nonprofit Environmental Working Group that Grassley had received $367,763 in disaster and commodity subsidies from federal programs since 1996, a spokesperson for the senator didn’t dispute the amount, but said Grassley was entitled to all those subsidies and is “the leading advocate for responsible and limited government spending” in agricultural programs.

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