Smith Blasts Democrats for Playing Politics with Farm Crises

Sep 15, 1998

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As thousands of American farmers and ranchers face economic ruin, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Bob Smith (R-OR) took House Democrats to task today for using the current farm crisis for political gain, while wasting time that could be spent finding real solutions.

Today, Representative Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) offered a motion to instruct House Conferees to accept Senate-passed language providing farm disaster relief in the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act. The funding level first proposed last July has been recognized by the Clinton Administration, farm groups, and Congressional leaders as woefully insufficient for alleviating the financial crisis faced by U.S. farmers and ranchers.

"Democrats should be ashamed of themselves for getting up on the House floor and insulting the intelligence of American farmers and ranchers by suggesting that this crisis can be solved by providing only $500 million in disaster relief," Smith said. "Everyone with any standing in the agricultural community, including Secretary Glickman, knows that it would be totally inadequate for fixing this problem."

"This sort of grandstanding will only get in the way of finding real solutions to the problems facing farmers and ranchers across America," Smith said. "We need to have honest discussions and debate about how to save the agricultural community, not partisan politics hiding the truth about how serious this situation has become."

Smith represents Oregon's Second Congressional District — which includes most of eastern, southern, and central Oregon — in the U.S. House of Representatives.