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Radio Remarks on Proposed Legislation To Help Farmers

July 30, 1999

As America's farmers look ahead to this year's harvest, what should be a time of reward and satisfaction is instead becoming a time of disappointment and for some, for too many, a time of ruin.

From dropping crop prices to diminishing foreign markets to devastating droughts in some parts of the country, many of our farmers and ranchers are facing the worst crisis in a decade. My administration has done what we can to ease this crisis, from increasing our food purchases for humanitarian aid around the world, to speeding up farm program payments, to ensuring $6 billion in emergency aid last year to help farmers in need. To really help our farmers and ranchers, we have to fix the underlying problem.

Let's just face it: The 1996 farm bill simply does not do enough to help our farmers and ranchers cope in hard times. It doesn't give me or the United States Department of Agriculture the tools we need to help farmers and ranchers thrive over the long term, from providing critical income assistance to farmers who need it most in bad years to making it easier for farmers to buy crop insurance and improving our crop insurance program to continuing our efforts to expand markets abroad and ensure fair practices here at home. That's the right way to help our farmers and ranchers over the long term.

I am committed to working with Congress to provide the resources to help our farmers and ranchers by dealing with today's crisis and by fixing the farm bill for the future. We must do so in a way that maintains the fiscal discipline that has created our prosperity and that now makes it possible for us to save Social Security, to strengthen and modernize Medicare with a prescription drug benefit, and to pay off our national debt, guaranteeing our long-term financial prosperity. These things are good for America's farming and ranching families, too, and they're good for all Americans.

NOTE: The President's remarks were recorded at approximately 10 p.m. aboard Air Force One at Aviano Air Base, Italy, for later broadcast. The transcript was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on July 31. These remarks were also made available on the White House Press Office Radio Actuality Line.

William J. Clinton, Radio Remarks on Proposed Legislation To Help Farmers Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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