“Do not go home. Do not stop working,” Kemp implored lawmakers, adding: “Our farmers have a line in the dirt in southwest Georgia and they can’t move it.”
His remarks sidestepped criticism of President Donald Trump, who has drawn the frustration of other Georgia Republicans. Trump pledged to help Georgia farmers, and Vice President Mike Pence toured the damage, but the president has since engaged in escalating attacks against Puerto Rico leaders.
U.S. Rep. Austin Scott, a Republican whose district spans parts of South Georgia, said on the U.S. House floor Tuesday that his calls to White House staff have gone unheeded and "but for one tweet on April 1, it seems the president has moved on."
Kemp, who won the GOP nomination with Trump’s help, said he’s talked to the president multiple times and was assured that Trump is “very engaged in supporting our farmers.” He and Black added that farmers and the banking institutions that serve them are desperate for a sign of confidence.
In interviews with more than a dozen local farmers, many warn they could be forced to sit out the growing season, sell off land or leave agriculture for good without help from Washington.
Short of federal intervention, it’s unclear what options state leaders have to help the region.
“We’ve put a lot of state resources into this already, which I fully support, but there’s only so much we can do at the state level,” he said. “I promise you, I have every option on the table. But it’s just that we don’t have many good options. The simplest, easiest thing is for Congress to pass the disaster bill.”
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