January 11, 2006
Ros-Lehtinen Leads Florida Delegation Request To Assist Commercial Fishing Industry
Washington, DC --Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is spearheading an effort by the Florida Congressional Delegation to request Section 32 disaster relief funding from the Department of Agriculture. Section 32 is a permanent appropriation that since 1935 has earmarked the equivalent of 30% of annual customs receipts to support the farm sector through a variety of activities. Several times in recent years, the Secretary of Agriculture has drawn substantial amounts from Section 32 to pay for special farm disaster relief. We believe that this urgent situation with the Florida commercial fishing industry warrants funds from the Section 32 Program.
Said Ros-Lehtinen: "The 2005 hurricane season had a crippling effect on commercial fishermen, their industry, their families and communities. Section 32 funds would provide the men and women of this devastated industry with much needed financial relief. I have asked USDA Secretary Mike Johanns to have the commercial industry declared eligible for these vital funds."
In a letter to USDA Secretary Mike Johanns, the Congresswoman, joined by Reps. Katherine Harris, Lincoln Diaz-Balart, and Mario Diaz-Balart, requested the inclusion of spiny lobster, stone crabs, oysters, and clams as crops eligible for Section 32 funds. This request is in response to the USDA's announcement of $250 million dollars in Section 32 funds, to be used towards agriculture industries affected by the 2005 hurricane season.
"I urge my Florida colleagues in the House and Senate to join me in supporting the commercial fishing industry in their recovery from a destructive hurricane season. They need our help now." Ros-Lehtinen said.