The U-S House of Representatives passed a farm bill today, and Iowa congressman Tom Latham was one who voted for it.He says he did it to move it along, and hopes in conference there will be some changes while farmers still get some support. President Bush had criticized the farm bill, and the Iowa republican says some of the amendments he’d found troubling are gone.The bill passed today increased conservation spending by about 80-percent, but he says the most important thing is just to pass one, so farm money isn’t lost for coming years. Latham says lawmakers can’t let the overwhelming events of September 11th push other items out of their focus.He says the farm bill, and maintaining a safe food supply, is a part of national security. The fourth-district republican says Congress must work on other bills too, like education and appropriations. Today’s vote for the farm bill was 291 to 120, with nineteen representatives not voting. Congressman Greg Ganske also voted “yes,” saying he saw several good reasons to get the farm bill passed.He says it’s a safety net for farmers, it boosts conservation spending, and we need it. Ganske says other special interests were eyeing the funding, and might well have siphoned off money intended for farmers if the bill hadn’t been passed in timely fashion.Ganske says the farm economy’s hurting and he hopes the Senate will pass a farm bill, too. Ganske says if Congress lets the farm bill languish, it’ll be their way of “fiddling while Rome burns.” Congressmen Jim Leach and Jim Nussle, both republicans, also vote for the bill. Iowa’s only democrat representative, Leonard Boswell, voted against the bill.
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