Iowa Public Television


Debt Politics from Washington to Rural America

posted on August 12, 2011

The debate over taxes, entitlement spending, and a congressional “super” committee spilled into the Heartland this week as top presidential candidates pressed the flesh at the Iowa State Fair.

Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney made a rare 2011 foray into Iowa for Thursday’s presidential debate and caught the ire of protestors.

IowaStateFairgoer: “I’m on Social Security….what are you going to do about it.  How are you going to protect it.”

Mitt Romney, Fmr. Gov. Mass: “Hold on a moment, let me speak.  Hold on a moment.  You had your turn and now its mine.  I’m not going to raise taxes – that’s my answer.   And if you want someone who can raise taxes you can vote for Barack Obama.”

Iowa State Fairgoer: “What about corporate tax cuts?”

Mitt Romney, Fmr. Gov. Mass: “Corporations are people, my friend.”

The campaign rhetoric was fueled by an escalating political battle in early primary states and back in Washington.  Congressional leaders are spending their August recess explaining the ins and outs of the last-minute debt ceiling agreement.

A crucial piece of the debt deal, a 12-member bi-partisan “super” committee of House and Senate lawmakers, was announced this week.  Senate Republicans chose Jon Kyle of Arizona, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, and Rob Portman of Ohio.  Senate Democrats selected John Kerry of Massachusetts, Patty Murray of Washington, and Max Baucus of Montana.

House Speaker John Boehner selected three Republicans: Jeb Hensarling of Texas as well as Dave Camp and Fred Upton, both Michigan Representatives.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi chose Representatives James Clyburn ofSouth Carolina; Chris Van Hollen ofMaryland, and Xavier Becerra ofCalifornia.

The “super” committee mix of party stalwarts and potential deal-makers have until Thanksgiving week to announce a plan to slash an additional $1.5 trillion off the national debt in 10 years.  Some congressional leaders have warned rural Americans that the “super” committee could take aim at farm programs.

Iowa Senator Charles Grassley, a staunch defender of agricultural programs, argues that spending from every department is on the table.

Despite the concern in some political circles regarding the outcome of any “super” committee deal, Grassley remains positive.


Tags: agriculture campaign 2012 debt deficit Iowa Iowa State Fair Mitt Romney news politics presidential candidates Republicans rural taxes Washington D.C.