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Neugebauer votes for drought relief package for America's farmers

Congressman Randy Neugebauer voted for legislation Thursday that would provide drought relief for America's agriculture producers.

"Farmers and ranchers in the 19th District and throughout America bore the brunt of a devastating drought in 2005 and 2006," said Neugebauer. "The losses were widespread, and many producers were left with no crops in the field at harvest time. A drought relief package is much needed and long overdue."

Under this legislation, H.R. 2207, producers would be able to choose to be compensated for either the 2005 or 2006 crop year (but not both) as long as they purchased crop insurance for that year. Eligible farmers must have suffered a 35 percent loss to apply for assistance, and the payment would be 50 percent of the price. Finally, the combination of income from crop receipts, crop insurance, and disaster assistance could not exceed 95 percent of what the value of the crop would have been without a loss.

While the House considered the drought relief bill separately from war funding legislation, a special rule calls for the two bills to be rolled into one package before being sent to the Senate. However, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has stated he is not likely to follow this approach. In addition, President Bush has indicated that he opposes the war funding portion of the bill because it only provides resources for U.S. troops in Iraq for two months.

"I am pleased to vote for this drought relief today, but this flawed process is not moving us any closer to the ultimate goal of getting relief to our agriculture producers," said Neugebauer. "I will continue to push for drought relief until a package is signed into law."

H.R. 2207 passed the House by a vote of 302-120.

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