U.S. Representatives 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 would provide a federal tax holiday and a payroll tax exemption for all essential employees in the food and agriculture industry defined by the recent Department of Homeland Security guidance. The bill for the food supply chain workers is an extension of the previously introduced GROCER Act.
These provisions would take place from February 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,” said Rep. Thompson. “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.”
Representative Evans said this bipartisan bill would complement the GROCER bill, sponsored by both legislators, by helping more people working in the food supply chain. ” We need to help the workers who are keeping America fed during this crisis,” he said.
Influential national food industry associations expressed their support for the AG CHAIN bill.
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“The National Grocers Association (NGA) supports Reps. Thompson and Evans’s legislation recognizing the extraordinary service of America’s front line food and agriculture workers” said Chris Jones, Senior Vice President of Government Relations & Counsel for the NGA. “Independent grocers have gone to great lengths to protect their employees and reward them for their tireless efforts and service to their communities. The AG Chain Act honors these supermarket superheroes and will help boost the income of workers that show up for work every day.”
The International Dairy Foods Association President and CEO, Michael Dykes, D.V.M., urged 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 supply chain 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.”
The National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) also expressed its support for this bill. “The AG CHAIN Act is an appropriate way for the federal government to recognize these retail heroes. I particularly appreciate that this bill builds on previous efforts by providing benefits to the over one million part-time workers filling these vital roles as well,” said Henry Armour, NACS President, and CEO.
Meanwhile, the Food Industry Association (FMI) joined the organizations that support the important leadership of Representatives Thompson and Evans on this legislation to benefit food supply chain workers.
“The AG CHAIN Act of 2020 recognizes the efforts of the food industry and gives our frontline associates well-deserved tax relief for their commitment to ensuring that grocery stores are open and stocked during this national emergency,” said Jennifer Hatcher, Chief Public Policy Officer of FMI.