The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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November 7, 2013

Farmers eye bill's passage

DEWITT — Sitting in nearly the same spot as he was a little more than two months ago, U.S. Rep. Dave Lobesack again spoke to Clinton County farmers about a yet-to-be-passed Farm Bill.

Loebsack met with members of the Clinton County Farm Bureau building in DeWitt on Wednesday to talk about the Farm Bill, the Water Resources Development Act and other issues lawmakers are still deliberating.

He told the eight farmers who gathered for the discussion he has mistakenly been introduced as a member of the U.S. House Agriculture Committee more than once, a mistake he credits to the work he has done to get the Farm Bill passed.

Loebsack was one of 24 House Democrats in July to vote for the bill that at the time called for $20 billion in cuts over 20 years. He tied the bill’s inability to pass to Tea Party Republicans, who he said Speaker John Boehner will need to work with in order to get the bill passed.

“Unfortunately, there are a lot of folks, as you know, among the Tea Party Republicans who are taking a lot of things out on a lot of people,” Loebsack said. “Not only do they want to approve the cuts to the food stamps...but they don’t want crop insurance subsidies. They just don’t want government.”

The current House bill calls for $4 billion in annual cuts to the $80 billion a year program, amounting to $40 billion over the course of 10 years. The Senate bill entails less cuts at $400 million a year, or $4 billion during the same decade.

The House-Senate Conference Committee held their first public meetings on the legislation last week.

Loebsack would like to see the bill passed as one piece rather than separating food stamps from the bill, but said Congress would be lucky to pass a unified Farm Bill this year and likely never see the bill in the same shape again.

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