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U.S. western states to get $110 million in drought aid: White House

U.S. western states to get $110 million in drought aid: White HouseU.S. western states to get $110 million in drought aid: White House

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House said on Friday that it would spend an additional $110 million to help farmers and communities in western states hit hard by drought and wildfires.

The drought has affected a third of the western United States, and President Barack Obama was slated to discuss it with western governors in a video conference on Friday.

The Agriculture Department will expand crop insurance, providing about $30 million in relief this year and $42 million next year, the White House said.

The Labor Department will provide up to $18 million in grants to California, a state where as many as 18,000 jobs have been lost to drought.

The White House said the money will be used to create up to 1,000 jobs for up to six months working on drought and wildfire projects.

The Interior Department will spend $10 million on projects designed to lessen the risk of major firefires, the White House said.

The new spending is on top of the more than $190 million spent by federal agencies this year on drought. The USDA also projects it will spend at least $1.2 billion in aid to livestock farmers.

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