Rep. Dave Loebsack speaks about "fiscal cliff" negotiations and proposed Farm Bill

Congressman Dave Loebsack spoke by phone with KTVO Saturday about the current "fiscal cliff" situation in Washington, D.C.

Congressman Dave Loebsack - I am a mile away from The Capitol. I can make it up their in a matter of minutes if some kind of resolution is actually achieved. If anything happens, my guess is it will happen no earlier than tomorrow at noon. That is my guess at this point. I am not sure the House will vote on anything until Monday if in-fact it gets voted on in the Senate first. So, it is hard to say at this point; you know, one whether there is going to be a resolution and two what it is going to look like. Although, I would suspect if there was some kind of resolution, it would be small, it is not going to be big and long-term resolution to the problem, and that is unfortunate because if it is small, that means the negotiations and this conflict are going to continue on into the new year and we will consume a lot of time and energy the first several weeks if not a couple of months into next year.

Greg Deffenbaugh - Do you think that anything is going to be resolved on the Farm Bill in time?

Congressman Dave Loebsack - That is a great question, and you know, I have been here for a bit, I have been talking to Rep. Peterson about that, ranking Democrat on the Agriculture Committee and a ranking Democrat, and he and I are very close, and I am not on the committee but I talk to him a lot about this. There is an attempt right now on the part of Debbie Stabenow from Michigan, and you may have been reading this, she is the chair of the Ag-Committee in the Senate. There is an attempt perhaps to have a one year extension of the current bill and that still leaves in place direct payments, it really doesn't change the game as such. But it would prevent of course dairy prices going up - which we could see very quickly if something is not done by the 31st.

Greg Deffenbaugh - So what is the hold up with that long-term plan? I do know that you supported the long-term farm bill. Is it just that House Republicans are holding it up?

Congressman Dave Loebsack - I think that's a big part of it. I do still think that a lot of it goes to the Tea Party folks who simply don't like government involvement in the economy at all. And there is some question you know about crop insurance and whether that should be something that continues; but that is important for our family farmers they have to have a safety net and if there are no direct payments then crop insurance is something that can pick up the slack and for family farms I think that is very important.

Greg Deffenbaugh - How involved are you in this process? I know many people don't realize that there is a hierarchy down there and you have officials in the Democratic Party that go up to the White House; but how involved are your personally in this whole process?

Congressman Dave Loebsack â?? Well, almost all the negotiations as such is going on among the top leaders of the two parties and the President and their respective staffs. I am having input through various folks, particularly on the Democratic side through the Democratic Party leadership. I am also, as you know, sending letters and correspondences to the President, Speaker Boehner, to Nancy Pelosi, to various folks in the leadership on a regular basis making my views known. There will be a meeting tomorrow of the Democratic Party members, as there will be no doubt of the Republican members as well and thatâ??s where there will be input into the process. But really at the moment, this is in the hands of the leadership in the respective parties in the Senate and the President in trying to work out some kind of resolution to avoid the cliff; and thatâ??s why I think that if anything does get done it will be much smaller than what we really need. The bottom line is, so long as taxes do not go up for the middle class and the working poor that is my main concern. We have to make sure those folks are protected. That is the bottom line.