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Massachusetts Lawmakers Urge Feds To Include Seafood In Food Aid Purchases

Robert F. Bukaty
AP File

Members of the all-Democratic Massachusetts congressional delegation are pushing to include East Coast seafood in purchasing agreements funded by the federal Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.

Sens. Edward Markey and Elizabeth Warren and Reps. William Keating and Seth Moulton said in a letter Friday to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue that when the U.S. Department of Agriculture begins its purchasing programs intended to assist those the pandemic has affected, the USDA should include domestic seafood.

Purdue in April announced that the USDA would be making about $19 billion in purchases through the coronavirus assistance program, the lawmakers said.

The lawmakers said the USDA announced the program would support farmers and ranchers and maintain the integrity of the food supply chain, but did not specifically say whether seafood would be included in the purchases.

The federal government has included seafood in past procurement programs and the lawmakers urged them to do so again during the current pandemic.

East Coast seafood producers have been devastated by the ongoing effects of the pandemic, the lawmakers said.