Congressman Tom Latham says Americans are tired of the “bickering” among the nation’s elected leaders. Latham, a Republican from Ames, says leaders in both the Democratic and Republican Parties are to blame.
“They want to play the partisan politic game,” Latham says. “Let’s sit down together and work for the American people. That’s the people told me in my town meetings. That’s what people are saying across the country. Let’s solve the problem rather than all this bickering going on.”
Latham says the nation’s health care system needs a fix, but he is opposed to a government plan which would compete with private insurance.
“After doing 20 town hall meetings in August and hearing from constituents and we just did a survey. Over 12,400 of my constituents responded to that and, overwhelmingly, about 60 percent say, ‘No,’ to a public option,” Latham says. “What they do believe is that we’ve got to transform the way health care is delivered, health insurance today. Cost is the big factor.”
Latham would support creation of health care co-ops where people could join together in a “pool” and try to buy insurance as a group for less than they’d pay as an individual. He also suggests allowing Americans to buy insurance from companies operating in another state would spark competition.
Latham also is defending the way he spends the money in his “For America’s Republican Majority” Political Action Committee or the “FARM PAC.” Latham uses money from FARM PAC to pay for fundraising trips designed to raise more money for the PAC, a practice criticized by advocates of campaign finance reform.
“Every one of the members from Iowa in the Senate and the House have leadership PACs,” Latham says. “…Senator Harkin actually has two of them, one where he spent about 80 percent on travel. My efforts, over 60 percent go to help other candidates.”
Latham’s PAC raised about $200,000 in the last election cycle. “I’m very proud of the efforts that we have to try and help my colleagues in the congress itself and the candidates here in Iowa for their election because the issues are so critical for this country as far as trying to change the direction, hold down spending,” Latham says.
A review of the PAC’s records from 2008 shows of the 200-thousand dollars that was raised, about $60,000 went to Republicans running for seats in the U.S. House and Senate and another $2000 was donated to a Republican seeking a seat in the Iowa House. The single largest expense were the $34,000 worth of checks written to the Virginia-based public affairs firm which manages the PAC. As of June 30th of this year, Latham had about $40,000 in the PAC.
Latham made his comments during a weekend appearance on IPTV’s “Iowa Press” program.