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Iowa Representatives: restore some USDA funds

DANIEL LOOKER 06/03/2011 @ 4:05pm Business Editor

Three Iowa Democrats in the House of Representatives said Friday that they’ve asked the Senate agriculture appropriations subcommittee to restore some of the funds that were cut in a House appropriations bill passed this week.
 
Congressmen Leonard Boswell, Bruce Braley, and Dave Loebsack Congressmen Leonard Boswell, Bruce Braley, and Dave Loebsack wrote Senators Herb Kohl (D-WI) and Roy blunt (R-MO) to say that they support the House committee’s move to limit direct payments to farmers who have adjusted gross income under $250,000. But they oppose cuts to USDA programs that would expand the use of blender pumps for ethanol and reimburse farmers for raising energy crops.
 
“The House legislation…contains extreme cuts to energy infrastructure that would impair our ability to free our constituents from Big Oil and bondage to OPEC and hurt our economy,” their letter to the Senate committee says. “It nearly eliminates funding to install ethanol pumps at rural service stations – reducing it from $75 million to $1.3 million. The bill also further rescinds all funds that assist and encourage conservation practices that allow corn cobs, switch grass and other non-feed stalks to be brought from the farm to the pump through bio-fuel production.  This apathy for energy infrastructure and domestic energy production is exceedingly foolish in the face of high gas prices caused by Wall Street speculators and unfriendly foreign oil.”
 
Iowa’s Republican Senator, Chuck Grassley, a strong supporter of the ethanol industry, said Friday that he hadn’t seen the details of that legislation but that he agrees with Democrats on the Senate Agriculture Committee who have written the White House to ask that cuts to agriculture not be greater than those made to other parts federal spending.
 
Grassley, who is travelling in Europe this week to promote U.S. agricultural trade issues, said that in principal he supports a hard cap on farm program payments.  
 

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