Loebsack laments congressional stalemate over Farm Bill, financial issues

(Radio Iowa) – Democratic Congressman Dave Loebsack of Iowa City says congress may be unable to pass a Farm Bill or even pass legislation that would keep the government operating.

“I’ll tell you I’m not optimistic at all, I have to say, because right now — given that September 30 deadline — I’m scheduled to be in congress for three, four working days at most between now and September 30th,” Loebsack said today during taping of IPTV’s “Iowa Press” program that airs tonight at 7:30.

Loebsack faulted the Republican leaders in the House, who decide when congress is in session, taking votes. Loebsack suggested the Farm Bill’s fate is being determined by a group of Republicans who do not favor spending more on government food and nutrition programs, like the so-called “food stamp” program.

“They don’t like crop insurance subsidies. They simply don’t like government and that’s really where we are now. We’ve got to have leadership, I think, on the part of Speaker Boehner. He’s got to bring those folks together and make sure that we can get something through the House and we can get it over to the Senate,” Loebsack said. “We shouldn’t have gone home for five and a half weeks this summer. The speaker sent us home and that was the wrong thing to do, especially with this and so many other things hanging out there at the time.”

This past week House Republican leaders had hoped to pass a bill that would keep the government operating past September 30, which is the last day of the current federal fiscal year.

“But they couldn’t corral the most conservative members of their caucus. They had to pull that continuing resolution, so we didn’t get to vote on it,” Loebsack said.

If Congress does not pass a spending bill by the end of this month, the federal government would partially shut down October 1. Many Republicans say they won’t vote for a bill to fund government operations unless it “defunds” what they call “ObamaCare.” Still another financial fight looms for congress, as the nation’s debt limit must be raised this fall or the government could default on its loans.