The failure of the Republican-controlled House to pass a new farm bill is providing fresh fodder for Democratic candidates in Iowa and other rural states seeking to woo swing voters ahead of the November election.
After a series of political victories early this summer, congressional action on the farm bill has ground to a halt. The full Senate passed its bipartisan $500 billion farm bill in June. A month later, the House Agriculture Committee approved its own five-year measure with deeper spending cuts. But since then, House GOP leaders have been unwilling to bring either bill to a vote for fear they do not have the 218 votes needed to pass it. The current farm legislation expires Sept. 30.
The farm bill has increasingly become an influential factor in election races across the country. Democratic challengers have turned up the heat on their Republican counterparts in rural districts, placing the beleaguered bill in the center of the political discussion. Still, despite the ramped-up rhetoric, it is uncertain whether the attacks will be enough to nudge any congressional seats into the Democratic camp.
“Republicans are failing farmers and ranchers by blocking the farm bill, and it will have a big effect in House races across the country,” said Stephen Carter, regional press secretary with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “Voters now have proof that Republicans are choosing their Washington leadership and the tea party over farmers and ranchers in their home state, and Democrats are highlighting Republican failure on the farm bill in each of these races.”
The issue has garnered the most attention in and around the Midwest, where corn, soybean and wheat are king. The biggest impact in House races is expected to be in the states where agriculture is the top industry — Iowa and South Dakota, according to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Other states where it has become a prominent topic in campaigns are Illinois, Wisconsin and Colorado. Democratic strategists also have highlighted Senate races in Montana, Nor th Dakota and Indiana as battleground states.
Candidates in these states are aggressively focusing on the farm bill at campaign events and in radio and TV advertisements. Democrats have used the commercials, debates and a flurry of news releases to accuse Republicans in Washington of failing constituents on a key issue. Even Republicans who support the farm bill have not been spared.
Democrats raise issue in Iowa races ...
Source: Argentine Beef Packers S.A.
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