Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) and 14 other senators have written Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson asking for a two-year extension of the capital gains tax deferment set to expire this year. Livestock producers forced to sell off their livestock because of the drought wouldn't have to pay capital-gains tax for those sales.

The Senators said in the letter, "due to persisting drought conditions, it's currently not in the best interest of livestock producers to replace livestock. However, these producers would be required to purchase replacement animals to avoid realizing the gain from their 2002 weather-related livestock sales. As such, an appropriate extension of the capital gains tax deferment period would allow producers to re-invest at a more reasonable and opportune time and help them avoid suffering further losses due to uncontrollable drought conditions."

Joining Nelson on the letter were Wayne Allard (R-CO), Max Baucus (D-MT), Kit Bond (R-MO), Sam Brownback (R-KS), Conrad Burns (R-MT), Kent Conrad (D-ND), Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Ken Salazar (D-CO), Jim Talent (R-MO), Craig Thomas (R-WY), and John Thune (R-SD).
-- P. Scott Shearer, Washington, D.C., correspondent