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The AP reports on Farm Aid:
All told, farmers would get $4.3 billion in disaster aid, aimed chiefly at the drought-stricken Great Plains and California farmers hurt by a hard freeze earlier this year.(Obey is currently starring in an internet "viral video" - see here.) Such subsidies have their supporters and detractors, of course. I'm no expert, so I'll stay neutral. What's interesting - to me at least - is that these earmarks are part of the Democrats' Iraq war "plan":
The drought disaster aid package has been scaled back, in part to make room for $74 million for a peanut storage program that pays storage and handling fees as farmers market their crop. And Rep. Sam Farr, D-Calif., is pressing for $25 million for spinach farmers who pulled produce from market shelves after last year's E. coli outbreak.
Meanwhile, House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey, D-Wis., isn't waiting on the upcoming farm bill to extend income subsidies aimed at small dairy farms. Obey's 13-month extension would cost $283 million.
Some critics say the Democrats are simply being opportunistic — using a must-pass measure for funding U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan to carry items that can't advance as easily on their own.We were certainly promised a "new direction" on Iraq - you can't fault them for delivering.
Already, money in the bill not directly related to the war exceeds $20 billion.
Democrats insist they aren't being bought off.
"Absolutely not," said Rep. Jim Costa, a Democrat representing a farm district in California's Central Valley. The California delegation is demanding help for citrus, avocado and other farmers facing $1.2 billion in losses from a devastating January freeze.
"I would support this one way or another," said Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D., a driving force behind the drought aid package.
There are a few lawmakers — such as Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore. — whose support for war funding is contingent on add-ons. In DeFazio's case, it's $400 million to extend payments to rural counties hurt by cutbacks in federal logging.
The billions of dollars not requested by Bush include $1 billion to prevent or prepare for a possible avian flu epidemic and $400 million in additional heating subsidies for the poor.
Previous entry here.
You are right, even though I agree that in Obey's case, things need to be done to protect small farmers, and I am sure that there are people out there that could use these programs well, albeit probably not those receiving the dough, I feel our soldiers deserve a heck of a lot more respect than this! At least the DEMOCRAT party has finally found that our troops in Iraq can help them, too! GRRR!!!Posted by Kelly Herold at March 16, 2007 01:14 PM Hide Comments | Show/Add Comments in Popup Window(1) | (Note: You must refresh main page to view newly posted comments here)