Iowa’s 4th District Congressman says he’s glad to be home for the Thanksgiving recess after a very complex autumn in Washington. Representative Tom Latham, a Republican from Alexander, says there are a number of things U.S. lawmakers still need to accomplish before the new year arrives. He says the session was “very difficult” with trying to balance the budget and deal with the war on terror.

Latham says the Deficit Reduction Act will hopefully slow down the rate of growth of mandatory spending in the federal government over the next five years. He says there are no cuts, just smaller rates of increase. Like with Medicaid, Latham says instead of a seven-point-three percent increase, they’re only boosting spending seven-percent even.

He says “all of the governors are with us on that. They understand that it’s not sustainable for the state governments either. We’ve gotta’ find a way to get a handle on the entitlement spending which overall in government is increasing anywhere from seven to nine percent a year. We can’t go on like that.” Latham says farmers should -not- be affected too drastically by the deficit reduction bill.

He says there are small reductions in direct payments to farmers, about two-and-a-half percent in the Senate bill and less in the House version. Latham says he hopes Congress can find easy answers to the differences between the two chambers’ versions of the deficit reduction bill.
The House recessed last Friday night after House Republicans rejected their own resolution calling for an immediate withdrawal from Iraq in what some see as a deliberately-engineered failure designed to split Democrats on the issue.