Axne, House Agriculture Committee Pass Natural Disaster Recovery Assistance Bill with Coverage for 2020 Derecho

July 27, 2021
Press Release
The committee advanced bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the WHIP+ program to cover agricultural losses from natural disasters in 2020, 2021

Today, Rep. Cindy Axne (IA-03) and her colleagues on the House Agriculture Committee advanced bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+) to cover agricultural losses from natural disasters in 2020 and 2021.

The 2020 WHIP+ Reauthorization Act also includes language to ensure losses related to the 2020 derecho are covered, a fix that Rep. Axne has pushed for over the past year.

“Last year, Iowans learned the name of a new kind of threat to our communities: the derecho. In a matter of minutes, extreme winds tore through our state – devastating our communities and damaging hundreds of thousands of acres of crops just before harvest,” said Rep. Axne. “Iowans have been resilient in rebuilding after that terrible day – and I’ve been working in Washington ever since to ensure that our federal disaster programs are in place to make our communities, families, and farmers whole again. This bill that we passed today is long overdue, and includes the changes I’ve been pushing for. I’m pleased to see bipartisan support for this key step to helping those still needing assistance and protecting our communities from future disasters.”

The legislation would authorize $8.5 billion for the WHIP+ to cover losses from 2020 and 2021 disasters. In addition to expanding the program to cover losses from derechos, the legislation would expand the drought trigger for counties from at least D3 conditions to also include counties with D2 drought conditions of at least eight consecutive weeks.

Currently, there are 22 Iowa counties experiencing such conditions.

Since the days following the Iowa derecho in August 2020, Axne has worked to ensure federal disaster requests were implemented quickly and effectively to help Iowans in need.

Earlier this year, Rep. Axne broke with her party to vote for expanding eligibility of disaster relief programs to include losses from the 2020 derecho.

Axne also previously advocated for reauthorizing and fully funding the WHIP+ program, a priority she articulated to House leadership in a bipartisan letter in April.

Rep. Axne has made supporting victims of natural disasters in Iowa a top priority in Congress.

Only a few months into her first term, Iowa communities along the Missouri River experienced devastating flooding – destroying homes, businesses, and farmland.

Axne fought to secure $3 billion in support for victims of that flooding across the Midwest, and still tracks the funding that has returned to Iowa to aid in rebuilding efforts with her Iowa Flood Funding Tracker.