A key player in the nation’s capital says Iowan Tom Dorr faces an uphill battle to win Senate confirmation to a job as assistant U-S ag secretary for rural development. Dorr’s comments about economically successful, predominantly white Iowa counties have sparked criticism from the Congressional black caucus. Iowa Senator Tom Harkin is now the chairman of the Senate Ag Committee which will hold hearings on Dorr’s nomination. Harkin says he doesn’t know Dorr, but says he has created controversy and that will make the hearing take a little longer.Harkin is not certain what’s going to happen with Dorr’s nomination, but Harkin says there’s been no indication President Bush will withdrawn Dorr’s name.Harkin says he doesn’t want to pre-judge Dorr, but he says the confirmation hearings will not be a simple process. On another ag-related issue, Senator Harkin plans to write a new phrase into the title of the next Farm Bill, a step toward making production of alternative fuels like ethanol part of the nation’s farm policy.Harkin says Farm Bills have traditionally dealt with “food, feed and fiber” but he wants the next one to include energy, too, things like soy diesel, biomass and wind energy farms.
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