The Republican who’ll likely face Senator Tom Harkin in November says the new Farm Bill Harkin co-authored is deeply flawed. Harkin, as chairman of the U.S. Senate Ag Committee, led development of the new Farm Bill, but Christopher Reed of Marion — the presumptive U.S. senate candidate — says the legislation is an example of out-of-control federal spending. "We need to curb some of our spending on superfluous programs," Reed says.
Reed suggests the Farm Bill is loaded with unrelated federal food and nutrition programs that have no business being included in the Farm Bill. "I wouldn’t have the food stamps and welfare programs in it," Reed says. "The Farm Bill’s an antiquated bill that was based in the 1930s to help farmers get through the Great Depression. It’s no longer doing that. It’s providing subsidies to millionaires in New York City."
Two-thirds of the new Farm Bill’s spending is for food and nutrition programs. Backers say the move is necessary to win support from urban lawmakers as rural lawmakers don’t have enough votes to push through farm subsidies on their own. Republican presidential candidate John McCain has called for an end to farm subsidies, but Reed doesn’t go that far.
"I would not eliminate farm subsidies, but I would make them for what they were originally intended to help the small farmer compete on a global level…The Farm Bill needs to be completely revamped and start from new," Reed says. "Make sure that the people who are getting the subsidies really need it." Reed made his comments on the Iowa Public Television program, "Iowa Press."
George Eichhorn finished 413 votes behind Reed in Tuesday’s primary has not conceded, arguing the margin of victory may change with a recount of the votes.