U.S. House Passes Drought Relief
Laredo Morning Times - Andrew Kreighbaum
Aug 3, 2012 -
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a drought relief bill Thursday that will provide $383 million in emergency aid to farmers and ranchers across the country.
U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, said three-quarters of all American agricultural producers are affected by ongoing drought conditions.
The House has failed to pass a full five-year farm bill package because of partisan gridlock, so the Agricultural Disaster Assistance Act was drafted to provide assistance to farmers and others who would have received it under the farm bill.
The bill was approved by a margin of 223-197, mostly along party lines.
Cuellar joined 34 fellow Democrats in supporting the legislation.
Forty-six Republican representatives voted against the legislation.
“Like many farmers and producers, I would have strongly preferred that we had also voted on a full five-year farm bill package to give farmers, producers, and those families relying on nutrition programs the strong and fair farm bill they deserve,” he said.
“However, the drought relief assistance we passed today is necessary to make sure that Congress can immediately provide emergency assistance to the 75 percent of agriculture producers who are affected by drought.”
The drought relief bill reauthorizes four programs that expired at the end of the 2011 fiscal year: the Livestock Forage Disaster Program; Livestock Indemnity Payments; Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish; and the Tree Assistance Program.
The bill’s passage in the House won’t necessarily mean quick relief for farmers.
The Senate will have to take up the legislation after the August congressional break.
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