The following originally appeared as an editorial in the Des Moines Register on December 24th:
Passing a new farm bill is like trying to get a herd of hogs through a gate - a lot of moving parts, each wanting to go a different way. There are differences among regions, among crops and among philosophies and outlooks.
Tom Harkin released the following statement today regarding his decision to vote no today on cloture on the motion to proceed on the FISA bill, which would have given immunity for phone companies who participated in the illegal wiretapping of American citizens:
The government’s first duty is to protect the American people. That is why I fully support giving our intelligence community the surveillance tools they need to fully monitor and track terrorists.
I was deeply troubled by the act passed in August. It permitted the government unchecked surveillance of American citizens without meaningful court oversight and approval. It permitted the government to monitor calls between businesspeople, tourists, our troops overseas to their families, or to family and friends abroad. I cannot support legislation that does not protect the constitutional rights of U.S. citizens who have done nothing wrong.
For the past few months, my colleagues and I have been hard at work creating important legislation that addresses some of our critical energy needs.
The Farm Bill which I guided through the Agriculture Committee invests the resources necessary to develop alternative sources of fuel here at home and end our dangerous addiction to foreign oil.
As the author of the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act that protects the civil rights of more than 54 million Americans with physical and mental disabilities, Senator Harkin has long been a champion of ensuring that all Americans have equal access and opportunities.