Sen. Hutchison: Disaster aid energy are priorities

Ensuring disaster aid legislation and securing energy policies will take priority in coming weeks on Capitol Hill, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison told the 1,225 members of the Texas Farm Bureau gathered for their state convention.

Pointing to disasters such as Hurricane Rita, the Panhandle wildfires and statewide drought, Hutchison pledged to keep fighting for the people of Texas. She has already introduced legislation to provide more than $1 billion in aid for producers affected by wildfires, but action on additional aid may have to wait until the New Year as Congress wraps its final week in Washington.

“If we are not successful in getting needed disaster relief now, we will get it next year,” Hutchison said. In addition to securing aid for current disasters, Hutchison also pledged to establish a reserve fund in Congress to better speed needed assistance in future disasters.

Regarding energy policy, Hutchison said more attention will have to be focused on making the United States independent from foreign oil. More than 60 percent of the nation’s natural energy resources currently come from outside U.S. borders.

“It’s a matter of national security,” she said. “And with ethanol and biodiesel developments, Texas farmers stand a real opportunity to supply our energy needs and lower the price of those to everyone.”

In other issues, Hutchison criticized the Trans-Texas Corridor, urging state office holders to seek out other options that are more landowner-friendly. She voiced support for extending the current farm bill, and urged colleagues in Washington to move forward with needed immigration reforms, including guest worker programs.

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