This was a vote on an amendment by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) that would increase funding by $110 million for farms that had been damaged by Hurricanes/Tropical Storms Irene and Lee (which inflicted damage to agricultural areas across the country during the summer of 2011). This amendment was offered to legislation that would provide annual funding in fiscal year 2012 for Agriculture, Transportation, and Commerce department programs.
Gillibrand urged support for her amendment: “…Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee left a trail of devastation all across New York. I saw firsthand the impact that they left on our communities: complete homes ruined, entire streets 7 feet of water, all people's belongings on their front yard, small businesses basically uncertain as to whether they could rebuild, whether they could rehire employees, crumbling bridges, washed-out roads, heating oil soaking into buildings and into the ground, farms with no feed for livestock, crops and livelihoods vanishing in a single day….This year has been unprecedented disasters striking agricultural regions all across the United States, not just in New York…..This funding [provided by the amendment] will help more than half the states in this nation with the disasters they have experienced so far this year, from the flooding in the Midwest to the droughts in Texas to the devastation that happened all across New York State. This is emergency funding that will help our farmers and our businesses survive. I urge my colleagues to support this amendment to reduce the backlog of eligible projects that are needed desperately right now by these families and these farms to rebuild.”
No senators spoke in opposition to this amendment.
The Senate agreed to Gillibrand’s amendment by a vote of 58-41. 51 Democrats and 7 Republicans voted “yea.” 40 Republicans and 1 Democrat voted “nay.” As a result, the Senate agreed to an amendment that would increase funding by $110 million for farms that had been damaged by Hurricanes/Tropical Storms Irene and Lee. In order for this amendment to become law, however, it would have to pass the House of Representatives and be signed into law by the president. When this vote occurred, the House had not yet voted on this amendment.