Iowa Senator Tom Harkin says he’s pleased to see the farm bill he oversaw as the chair of the ag committee pass both the House and Senate with margins large enough to override a possible presidential veto. Harkin says the bill has come about despite the fact that Congress has been divided and gridlocked on bill after bill.
"I think what we showed on this bill, is that cooperation, working in a bipartisan manner, and doing it in an open, above the board manner, can result in really good legislation," Harkin says. Harkin a Democrat, says he worked hard to visit with fellow lawmakers to develop the bill. He says it’s a good bill for rural areas, farms, cities, for trying to get off the country’s dependence on foreign oil.
Harkin says there’s more money in this bill for conservation, and that’s his signature imprint on the bill. Harkin says the conservation measures in the bill will impact 400,000 acres of land in Iowa. Harkin says in the first five years, there will be about 110-million dollars for conservation and than another 189 to 190-million for the environmental quality incentives program.
Harkin hopes the overwhelming support of the bill in the House and Senate will make the president look at the bill with "fresh eyes and an open mind." Harkin says the president is focused on a few issues he disagrees with. "Well, heck there are some things in this bill I disagree with," Harkin says, "the art of legislation is compromise and getting it done. So I hope he’ll look at it and decide it does good things for the nation as a whole."
Harkin says he’s confident if the president doesn’t change his mind, they’ll have the votes to override a veto. The bill passed the Senate Thursday on an 81-15 vote.