House extends disaster assistance for livestock producers
WASHINGTON (AP) - Nebraska Third District Congressman Adrian Smith voted with the majority Thursday as the House on Thursday extended disaster assistance to livestock producers reeling from rising feed prices caused by the drought that has scorched much of the nation.
The 223-197 vote to revive expired disaster relief programs for cattle and sheep producers was one of the House's last actions before lawmakers left for their five-week August recess.
The Senate was not acting on the bill as it wrapped up its pre-recess work, and Democratic opponents characterized the legislation as cover for Republicans having to explain to rural constituents why they put off action on a comprehensive five-year farm policy bill.
While many crop farmers have insurance that provides some protection from the effects of the worst drought in a quarter-century, livestock producers are vulnerable to sharp increases in feed prices resulting from the dry weather. Some have had to liquidate stocks early because of the high maintenance costs.
Smith said "The bill passed by the House today would provide assistance to producers affected by the drought and wildfires devastating farms and ranches across Nebraska. Until the House and Senate come to an agreement on long-term farm policy, this legislation would ensure struggling producers are not left with more uncertainty."
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