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Drought relief attempt fails in Senate

Agriculture.com Staff 09/14/2006 @ 2:54pm

A bipartisan attempt to get the Senate to vote on a $6.5 billion relief bill for agricultural disasters in 2005 and 2006 failed Thursday.

Sen. Ben Nelson, D-NE, tried to add the drought aid to a bill that increases U.S. port security. The amendment was similar to legislation introduced by Senators Kent Conrad, D-ND, and Conrad Burns, R-MT. Republicans argued that the amendment wasn't germane to a bill on port security.

Earlier this week Senator Tim Johnson, D-SD, who like Conrad and Burns is from a state hard hit by drought earlier this summer, said that supporters of drought aid will keep trying to get legislation passed.

"We're not going to throw in the towel on this," he said. "Truthfully, disaster relief should have been passed last spring."

Johnson said that ranchers have already been hard hit by drought and forced to sell off cattle. The drought has already had a severe impact on rural areas and small towns in his state, he said.

A bipartisan attempt to get the Senate to vote on a $6.5 billion relief bill for agricultural disasters in 2005 and 2006 failed Thursday.

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