Senate Committee Approves Disaster Aid, MILC Extension

Bill provides over $4 billion for farm disaster aid, bumps Milk Income Loss Contract program deadline from August to September.

Just after House Democrats added farm disaster aid to a bill calling for the U.S. to pull troops out of Iraq, the Senate Appropriations Committee Thursday added ag disaster aid and an extension of the Milk Income Loss Contract program to its version of the bill.

The Senate version provides over $4 billion for farm disaster aid, compared to around $3.3 billion in the House version.

With the MILC program, a countercyclical safety net program for small and medium-sized dairy farmers, set to expire in August 2007, the bill would push the expiration date back to September. The measure would make MILC's expiration coincide with other farm programs to be dealt with in this year's farm bill, which legislators have said they hope to finish by September. The provision also builds the cost of the dairy program into the farm bill's baseline budget.

The House version funds MILC for 13 months but does not include a baseline.

The Senate bill is expected to come to the floor next week.

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