|WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Daschle said now
that Senate Republicans have agreed to allow debate on a "Patients' Bill
of Rights," he will press for action on the Agriculture Appropriations
bill and work to strengthen it to include immediate relief for farmers and
ranchers who have been battered by the farm crisis.
Daschle, who has long pushed for Senate action on the "Patients' Bill of Rights," said after the Fourth of July Recess the Senate will debate the legislation under an agreement reached with the Republican leadership Tuesday evening.
"I'm pleased that we have an opportunity to move forward with patient protections that will help families – including farm families – across the country," Daschle said. "I hope now we can turn our attention to improving the Senate Agriculture Appropriations bill and make sure it includes immediate relief for producers who have been hit by low prices and falling income."
Daschle said Republican governors and House members who have called for Senate action on the Agriculture Appropriations bill should join the efforts of Senate Democrats to ensure the bill includes immediate help for farmers.
"Those who complain about the delay in considering the agriculture spending bill say nothing about its failure to deal directly with the farm crisis," Daschle said. "I am more interested in sending help than sending messages."
Last fall Daschle led the effort to enact a $6 billion farm aid bill. This year, he and other Senate Democrats have pressed legislation to add an additional $6.5 billion in immediate farm relief. Those efforts were blocked by Republicans, he said.
"In the past few months, I've been working long and hard to help farmers and ranchers deal with this crisis," Daschle said. "To date, we have not had Republican support for those efforts. I hope that their apparent eagerness to take up the Agriculture Appropriations bill signals a new willingness to provide real and immediate help to farmers."
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