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  • bluecheese4u bluecheese4u Sep 19, 2012 7:42 PM Flag

    Tom Latham blames Eric Cantor on farm bill

    Tom Latham blames Eric Cantor on farm bill

    By JAKE SHERMAN | 9/19/12 3:23 PM EDT

    Iowa Rep. Tom Latham says Speaker John Boehner wants to bring the farm bill to the floor, but is being stifled by his leadership colleagues.

    Latham, a close ally of Boehner’s (R-Ohio), said on Simon Conway’s radio show in Iowa Tuesday that “Eric Cantor is the one who controls floor activity” and the Virginia Republican “honestly believe(s) that they cannot pass it.”

    “John Boehner is not the problem,” Latham said.

    The farm bill has passed the House Agriculture Committee, and has been hanging in limbo ever since. The Senate passed a bill, and rural farm states have been up in arms at Republican leadership, which refuses to bring it to the floor. The Wall Street Journal editorial page gave leadership reinforcement Tuesday, when they said leadership shouldn’t bring it to the floor because it spends too much money.

    But Latham’s party is in power, and he is in a tight member-on-member race against Rep. Leonard Boswell (D-Iowa). He wants the bill brought to the floor, and hashed out there. Latham said on the radio show that leadership is nervous about internal conflict over the bill.

    “What they tell me, they don’t want to blow up the alliance with the urban members and the farm state members that we have always had to pass a farm bill,” Latham said. “They think that would be in jeopardy. They tried to come out and say it’s in the best interest for farmers to keep that coalition together and don’t have a bill that fails. I think in my mind you bring it to the floor and you fix it and that’s how you get the votes to do it.”

    Conway asked Latham if people should be blaming Cantor for the bill being stalled.

    “Well, he controls the floor schedule and I will tell you I have had several conversations with the speaker and he is all for bringing it to the floor,” Latham said.

    Cantor’s office says it’s more complicated than that.

    “House leadership is in agreement. Moving a reauthorization or extension before there is consensus – and there is currently none - would not be wise,” Cantor spokesman Doug Heye said. “In the meantime, the House has acted on important livestock disaster aid. The Senate has not.”


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