Exchange With Reporters on Flooding in the Midwest
Q. What are you going to do to help the people on the river, sir?
The President. That's what Secretary Espy and I were just talking about. We don't have enough money in the discretionary emergency fund to meet the rather massive losses that a lot of these farmers are facing. And so I expect he will come to me with some legislation in the fairly near future when we have a sense of what the total dimension of the loss was in the corn crop, the soybean crop, and what the other problems are. And he is just briefing me now on what he's seen and where we are. It's a very, very serious thing for the farmers, though. It's the most rain they've had in over 100 years. Right?
Q. Have any idea what the loss would be, I mean, in money?
The President. Well, he's going to brief me as soon as he knows. I think we'll have to watch it. The corn crop is very stunted because of the rain, and this is soybean planting time and coming to the end of it. So there's not a dramatic turnaround in conditions. You saw them drain off the water during—[inaudible]—the soybean crop on a lot of that land.
Q. So would there be a disaster declaration, sir, at some point?
The President. We're going to work out exactly what we have to do. It appears that in order to deal with the losses, we'll have to go back to the Congress. I do not believe there are sufficient funds in the discretionary emergency accounts that I have to deal with it. So I think that we'll be going back. And as the Secretary puts together the package, then obviously he'll share it with you as soon as we know.
NOTE: The exchange began at approximately 11 a.m. in the Oval Office at The White House, during a meeting with Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy. A tape was not available for verification of the content of this exchange.
William J. Clinton, Exchange With Reporters on Flooding in the Midwest Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/220869