WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) today criticized Senate Democrat leadership for opting to begin the scheduled August state work period without passing disaster relief legislation for farmers and ranchers across the country impacted by severe drought and wildfires.
“I would prefer for Congress to pass a five-year farm bill before leaving town, but that doesn’t mean we should hold vital drought relief hostage,” Johanns said. “The only responsible course of action at this point would be to pass critical disaster relief for American farmers and ranchers just like the Republican-controlled House did. Instead, Democrats are choosing to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
“Ranchers have to feed their livestock today, not six weeks from now, and to leave town without getting this done is wrong.”
The House of Representatives earlier today passed fully paid for disaster relief legislation for ranchers. This drought relief package reauthorizes several disaster programs included in the 2008 farm bill that expired on September 30, 2011. This was done by the Democratic majority to make the ’08 bill appear cheaper. These programs include: Livestock Forage Disaster Program; Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program; Livestock Indemnity Program, and Tree Assistance Program.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), largely because of objections from within his party, chose not to bring this legislation to a vote in the Senate, which gaveled out of session until Monday, September 10.