Obama pledges all-out response to drought
A dry corn field receives some rain from a passing thunder storm near Blair, Neb., Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2012. (AP / Nati Harnik)
Published Saturday, August 11, 2012 1:27PM EDT
WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama is pledging a wide-ranging response to the worst drought in a quarter-century.
In his weekly radio and Internet address, Obama says his administration is giving farmers and ranchers access to low-interest emergency loans, is opening more federal land for grazing and is distributing $30 million to get water to livestock.
Obama says Congress needs to pass a farm bill to ensure a long-term solution.
Lawmakers have asked Obama to relax ethanol production targets, citing low corn supplies and spiking prices. An Obama spokesman says officials are keeping a close eye on corn yields but have made no decision.
In the Republican address, Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi says Obama should work with Congress to avoid $110 billion in automatic spending cuts required by a deficit-cutting plan.