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Demand commitment from representatives

WASHINGTON National Farmers Union President Tom Buis says there still is time for members of the U.S. House of Representatives to re-adjust their priorities and support disaster assistance. NFU says that if 20 members of the House commit now to s...

WASHINGTON National Farmers Union President Tom Buis says there still is time for members of the U.S. House of Representatives to re-adjust their priorities and support disaster assistance. NFU says that if 20 members of the House commit now to signing a Disaster Discharge Petition, there still is time to get assistance to the countryside before it is too late.

The ppeaker of the House, Rep. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., controls which bills are considered and has refused to let disaster assistance come up for a vote.

Congress approved disaster assistance for victims who suffered damage as a result of hurricanes earlier this year, but producers affected by drought and floods were left out.

The seldom-used discharge petition process has gained 198 signators. The Disaster Discharge Petition, with 218 signators, would circumvent House rules and bring disaster aid directly to the House floor. Of the 198 signators, 195 are Democrats, one is Independent and two are Republican.

"If only 20 of the representatives who have already cosponsored disaster legislation would sign the petition, we could have disaster aid within weeks," Buis says.

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"Disaster assistance should not be a partisan issue, and I'm disappointed some members of the House refused to buck their party leadership," Buis says. "The Disaster Discharge Petition would provide emergency weather-related disaster assistance for crop and livestock producers. We will continue to seek signatures on the Disaster Discharge Petition to help farmers and ranchers who are victims of weather circumstances beyond their control.

"It is not too late for representatives to help their constituents by committing now to signing the Disaster Discharge Petition when they return to Washington," Buis says. "A disaster is a disaster, and citizens should demand that they get that commitment to sign the petition now, before the election. Now is when your voice is loudest."

National Farmers Union

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