WASHINGTON — Congress on Friday sent President Reagan a $1-billion money bill to temporarily pay for crop support loans to farmers, raising prospects that the suspended program could reopen for business early this week.
But even with the action, the aid to farmers could dry up again by the end of the month if lawmakers do not push through more supplemental money, officials warned.
The emergency appropriations bill sped through Congress in less than 24 hours once it reached the House floor. It cleared the Senate on Friday with no debate and was approved by unanimous consent to avoid a time-consuming roll call vote.
The Administration is expected to sign the legislation and, if that occurs over this weekend, farmers could begin to receive loan checks for their crops as early as Monday, said John Ochs, a spokesman for Agriculture Secretary John Block.
Ran Out of Money
The money is needed to support the Commodity Credit Corp., which ran out of money for the nation's price support loan program as large numbers of farmers sought cash from the government for their newly harvested wheat.
The Agriculture Department halted loan-making to producers at the close of business last Wednesday and started to mark time until Congress provided more money.
"This gives us a couple more weeks of operating money," said Ochs.
He estimated the $1 billion would carry the CCC for 1 1/2 to two weeks before it again goes broke.