Hurrican Katrina continues to have a significant impact on Congressional action on a number of issues. Federal budget reconciliation was postponed after the impact of Katrina began to become clear to Representatives and Senators. As they and the nation began to realize the scope and magnitude of the impact of Katrina, attention shifted from Federal budget reconciliation to emergency spending bills.
As of the writing of this post, reconciliation is on hold for a month - until October 26,2005. Although some members of Congress would like to postpone further, others have stated that offsetting some of the spending for Katrina relief makes budget reconciliation that much more compelling.
Moreover, two other factors are clearly changing the debate over federal budget reconciliation:
1. A large and growing coalition of organizations and individuals have joined forces to oppose cuts to food and nutrition programs (Food Stamps; Women, Infants and Children Nutrition program; and the Free and Reduced School Lunch program). The efforts of this diverse coalition, combined with the reality that Katrina has created even more need for these and other USDA programs, has made many members of Congress reconsider the idea of cutting these programs. And in many cases these organizations have called for farm payment limits over cuts to food and nutrition programs, strengthening our efforts there.
2. Your voices, calling for protecting rural development, conservation AND food programs, have also had a crucial impact. Senators and Representatives from across the country have heard from Center supporters and allies, time and again - over the summer, through the August recess and continuing this month - that the single most effective thing that Congress could do to strength family farms and rural communities is limit farm program payments.
Your voices have changed the debate - indeed, your voices; your letters (to members and to newspapers); your phone calls; your face to face meetings; your questions at district meetings and farm bill listening sessions and every other kind of meeting have set the debate and forced Congress to consider long overdue farm payment limitations.
And there has never been a better time to weigh in again with your members of Congress. Another week-long recess has been scheduled for the week of October 10, 2005.
We encourage you to contact your Senators and Representative, see when they will be in your area - call the capitol at 202.224.3121 and ask the switchboard to connect you.
And look here for the Center for Rural Affairs' Action Alert on farmpayment limitations - http://www.cfra.org/newsroom/action_alerts.htm - if you have called before, call again.
THANK YOU ALL FOR TAKING ACTION FOR RURAL AMERICA.
Post a comment here - or - contact John Crabtree, email@example.com,
402-687-2103 ext 1010.
Center for Rural Affairs
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