Press Releases

Musgrave Fails to Support Disaster Aid for Farmers - 6/15/2006


CONTACT: James Thompson (970) 222-6397


“When will Marilyn stop listening to President Bush and start listening to Colorado farmers?” Angie Paccione asks.

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, a member of the House Committee on Agriculture, last week failed to support the inclusion of $4 billion in disaster relief for farmers in the FY2006 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act, leaving at least 25 counties in Colorado without funding for disaster assistance.

“Marilyn claims she’s fighting for farmers and ranchers, but her demonstrated indifference, even negligence, toward farmers and ranchers reveals just the opposite,” said Rep. Angie Paccione, Musgrave’s opponent in Colorado’s Fourth District House race. “Farmers suffering from disasters need that relief so they can continue to feed their families and continue to feed America.”

The $4 billion targeted for agricultural disaster relief nationwide in the Senate version of the supplemental bill was excluded by Republican leadership in a conference committee last week. The bill still includes $500 million in assistance to farmers hit by Hurricane Katrina.

Pressure from the Bush administration reportedly played a key role in the decision to strip farm relief from the Agricultural Disaster Assistance Act of 2006.

“Marilyn had a golden opportunity to help farmers get the assistance they need, but she dropped the ball,” Paccione said. “When will she stop listening to President Bush and start listening to Colorado farmers?”

Drought, rising petroleum costs, and lower market prices have contributed to a disaster situation for many Colorado farmers. Governor Bill Owens sent a letter Tuesday to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns asking for a disaster declaration for 25 Colorado counties.

The bill would have provided immediate emergency relief to agricultural producers for losses incurred during 2005, including relief for crop production loss, assistance for sugar beet losses, and a Livestock Compensation Program for producers in designated disaster counties.

“Colorado’s Fourth District is one of the top agricultural producers among House districts nationwide, and the farmers and ranchers are in dire need,” Paccione added. “It’s a shame that Marilyn’s votes in Congress don’t reflect that reality. This is just another example of her ineffectiveness as a representative.”

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