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Harkin, Boswell maintain fight for farm bill, wind energy tax credit

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Posted: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 12:00 pm | Updated: 12:07 pm, Tue Sep 25, 2012.

The fight for a farm bill and the wind energy tax credit raged on this week, as a pair of Democratic Iowa federal lawmakers held a teleconference to back the stalled pieces of legislation and chide Republican leadership.

Sen. Tom Harkin and Rep. Leonard Boswell during Monday's call stated their desire to pass a farm bill and extend the wind energy production tax credit.

The farm bill is being held up in the House, and it appears the wind energy tax credit will be allowed to expire as wished by Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

"This is a very critical situation," Boswell said.

Boswell disputed claims by House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, that the farm bill does not have enough votes for passage. Boswell said he performed a straw poll just before Congress recessed for the election season, and he believes the farm bill would get enough votes to pass the House.

"I don't have any reason to believe it would not pass," Boswell said.

Boehner recently indicated he will bring the farm bill to the floor after the election during the lame duck session of Congress, but neither Harkin nor Boswell are buying it.

"Rep. Boehner is promising a pig in a poke," Harkin said, calling Boehner's words "vacant promises."

Harkin said with the many issues that will face Congress during the lame duck session - the tax cuts and sequestration, for example - he doesn't believe there will be enough time to debate and pass a farm bill.

Boswell agrees.

"I seriously doubt they'll bring it up," he said. "Why not now? It should have already happened. Why don't we get all the people back and pass the farm bill?"

Similarly, Harkin believes the votes are there to support extension of the wind energy production tax credit.

"But they won't let us bring it up," he said.

Boswell believes the wind energy tax credit is a victim of Romney's stance: because he's against it, most Congressional Republicans are against it.

Boswell noted just the possibility of the end of the tax credit has already created lost jobs in Iowa. Wind energy equipment manufacturer Siemens Energy Inc. will lay off 615 workers in Iowa, Kansas, and Florida in part because Congress has not renewed a tax credit for wind energy, the company announced last week.

"It's a disgrace, and we failed in this," Boswell said. "I did everything I knew how to do to be effective on this."

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