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Iowa congressmen call for farm bill vote

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DAVENPORT, Iowa --- In the face of dim prospects and a spreading drought, Midwest lawmakers are continuing to push for a quick vote on a new farm bill.

All five members of Iowa's congressional delegation signed a letter Friday asking that the House take up the legislation, according to Rep. Bruce Braley's office.

"Just like millions of small businesses around America, farmers need certainty and confidence in the farm safety net they depend on," the letter said. "Now more than ever, getting the Farm Bill done is too important for political games."

Reps. Dave Loebsack, Steve King, Leonard Boswell and Tom Latham, also signed the letter.

The chances of a vote on a farm bill are dwindling, however. Congress is scheduled to begin its summer recess after the week after next, and the House leadership has not scheduled the bill for a vote next week. Existing farm legislation expires Sept. 30.

The Iowa delegation also was among more than 60 congressmen who signed onto a bipartisan plea Thursday asking for a quick vote.

The House Agriculture Committee already has approved a bill, although it's drawn some opposition because of proposed cuts to the food stamp program. But with the drought spreading, lawmakers say there's a new urgency.

"Iowa agriculture has been a bright spot in the economy," Braley said Friday. "The drought not only threatens the livelihood of countless Iowa farmers, it could have ripple effects for our economic recovery."


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