Senator Tom Harkin, D.-Iowa, the chairman of the Senate Ag Committee, has taken a lot of flack for delaying mark-up of the next farm bill until after the Columbus Day recess. However Senator Charles Grassley, R.-Iowa, says the delay is understandable and Chairman Harkin should be cut some slack.
"Senator Harkin took a stand months ago that he wasn't going to bring a bill up until he knew exactly how much money he was going to have." Grassley says. "He can't really be condemned for not coming forth with a bill if he doesn't know exactly how much money he is dealing with."
The Senate Finance Committee, on which Grassley is the ranking member, passed the Heartland, Habitat, Harvest and Horticulture Act of 2007 just before Congress adjourned for Columbus Day. This bill will provide much of the funding for the farm bill.
"Now that the Finance Committee has done what is needed," Grassley says, "It's up to all of us on the Agriculture Committee to decide where priorities are, get a bill passed and have farmers have a long term view of agriculture policy."
The Senate Agriculture Committee is expected to take up the farm bill next week.