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(Washington, D.C.) –U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash) today helped pass $3.9 billion in disaster assistance through the Senate Appropriations Committee, of which she is a member. The measure, offered by Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and co-sponsored by Murray, will help farmers and ranchers by providing emergency aid for the 2005 crop year.

"Washington's farm families have been hit hard by natural disasters, low prices, and rising costs for fuel and fertilizer," Murray said. "They need help if we're going to continue to have a strong ag economy that supports families throughout our state and nation."

This is Murray's second attempt this year to help farmers and ranchers get emergency aid.

On April 4th, Murray's amendment for emergency agriculture assistance passed a Senate committee and was added to the Senate version of the emergency war funding bill.

On May 3rd, Murray successfully blocked an attempt to remove part of that funding from the bill. Ultimately, however, Murray's funding was stripped out of the bill under a veto threat from the White House.

"Today's victory marks a good step forward for our nation's farmers," Murray said. "There is much more work to do to secure our ag industry for future prosperity and I will continue to fight in the U.S. Senate to do right by our farmers, ranchers and the entire industry."

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