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Department of Defense Appropriations Act - Continued

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Ms. STABENOW. I first wish to thank Senator Merkley, who has been tireless in bringing forward the issues of farmers and ranchers in Oregon. And to my colleagues who are here on the floor from New York and New Jersey, I had the opportunity to be in New Jersey with Senator Menendez and to see firsthand, also with Senator Landrieu and Senator Tester. It is very, very clear that this is a horrific situation and deserves our attention and support.

What we are doing with this amendment, as modified--and I want to thank Senator Blunt for working with us and cosponsoring the amendment--is to basically take what we have done and already passed in the farm bill and putting it into this very important disaster assistance bill.

In the spring, we experienced late freezes that wiped out many fruit crops in a number of States, including Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania. In my home State, we had a 98-percent loss of cherry crops, and they don't have access to any crop insurance. We are talking about those who don't have that option to be able to help mitigate their losses.

In the summer, we saw the worst drought since 1956. It left crops withering in the field. All across our country, over 80 percent of the contiguous United States experienced drought conditions. Eleven States still have exceptional drought conditions, and there are 17 States with severe drought conditions.

I can't imagine having a disaster assistance bill come through this Senate without including help for our farmers and ranchers who have been hit so very hard this year.

I urge my colleagues to support our amendment and thank my colleague very much for allowing us to offer it.

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