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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release March 19, 1997

President Clinton asked the Congress today to provide nearly $2 billion in emergency funding to meet urgent needs created by recent natural disasters across the country -- including severe winter weather in the West, damaging tornadoes in the middle of the country, and this month's flooding in the Midwest.

The President's request comes after he, the Vice President, and other senior Administration officials visited hard-hit areas from this month's flooding and pledged a speedy Federal response.

The six agencies for which the President requests funds are the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, the Interior, and Transportation, the Corps of Engineers, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Specifically, the President requested:

          The President also requested $30 million in contingent 
          funding for the Department of the Interior.
     o    $126.1 million for the Department of Agriculture:  
          $66.1 million for watershed and flood prevention 
          operations such as opening dangerously restricted 
          channels and waterways, repairing diversions and 
          levees, and controlling erosion; $38 million for the 
          Forest Service to repair damage caused by the winter 
          flooding; $20 million for cost-sharing assistance 
          to farmers and ranchers whose farmland was damaged; 
          $1 million for emergency loans or grants to repair 
          rural water and wastewater systems; and $1 million 
          for rural housing programs to support housing grants 
          and loans to eligible borrowers.

          The President requested an additional $35 million 
          in contingent funding for the Department of 
          Agriculture for emergency conservation and flood 
          prevention for anticipated spring flooding, as 
          well as additional damage resulting from the 
          recent disasters.

     o    $22.8 million for the Department of Commerce, 
          with which the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
          Administration would repair damage to fish hatcheries 
          along the Columbia River and to restore other fish 
          habitats in the West.

          The President also requested $1.2 million, transferred 
          from another Department of Commerce account, for 
          the Economic Development Administration to provide 
          planning and technical assistance to communities for 
          long-term economic recovery.

     The Administration will continue to evaluate the need for 

additional resources as our response to the current disasters continues.

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