Sen. Tom Harkin opposes a short-term extension of the federal Farm Bill and says the U.S. House – specifically House Republicans – need to get their act together.
“We passed a good farm bill here,” the Iowa Democrat said about the Senate. “There’s no reason for the House not to take it up and pass it. We can’t keep caving in all the time to a few producers in the South who have peanuts and rice, who are doing quite well, but want more government funding.”
He urged the House to bring the bill that received bipartisan support from the House Ag Committee to the floor, pass it and send it to a House-Senate conference committee.
In his weekly call with Iowa reporters, Harkin voiced optimism the lame-duck Congress will take up the Farm Bill before the end of the year. If not, farm programs revert to the 1949 Farm Bill.
“It would be a shame,” he said.
He also hopes to see the wind energy production tax credit extended. Harkin called that “crucially important” to Iowa.
Iowa, he said, is a net exporter of energy “and we have the capability to producing even a lot more.”
He’s been told there is as much as $1 billion of wind energy investments in Iowa waiting on the production tax credit extension.
Again, prospects for action in the House appear before the end of the year appears slim.
Iowa can play a large role in helping the nation become a net exporter of energy, Harkin said. He noted that the lifespan of a wind turbine is 20 to 30 years.
During that time, gas and oil prices will fluctuate, “but the price of wind stays the same,” he said.