Washington—On February 11, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) introduced the California Emergency Drought Relief Act with Senators Barbara Boxer, Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden. The bill included provisions to help farmers, businesses and communities suffering from devastating drought conditions.

In order to address Republican concerns, on April 1 a revised, bipartisan bill was introduced that removed direct spending from the bill and included provisions to help other Western states.

Senator Feinstein released the following statement on the legislation:

“Any drought bill will require 60 votes to move through the Senate. Since the bill was first introduced in February, my staff has worked around the clock to find five Republicans votes necessary to reach that number. We are very close to 60, but we’re not there yet.

“After speaking with 25 Republican senators, only some have agreed to vote for cloture on the bill. To my colleagues who have not agreed to support cloture, I call on them to agree to do so. In times of disaster, the Senate has set aside its differences, come together and worked to help the country. This is such a time.

“More than 800,000 acres of California farmland will likely be fallowed. California’s economy faces a $7.5 billion hit. More than 15,000 jobs related to the agriculture industry are at risk. Food prices across the country will increase. This is an emergency, and this bill deserves a vote.

“To my Republicans colleagues who have agreed to support cloture, I thank you. To the rest, please join this effort and help get this bill passed so we can work with the House on a final agreement.”

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