In the high-profile race for U.S. Senate in Missouri, incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill is seizing on this year’s drought to win support among rural voters.
Speaking at the historic Soulard Farmers Market, Senator McCaskill laid in to her opponent in the November election—Republican Congressman Todd Akin—for his opposition the Senate version of the federal farm bill, which includes disaster assistance for farmers reeling from this year’s record drought.
Were it not for Republicans like Todd Akin, McCaskill says that relief would be on its way to farmers and ranchers.
“I don’t think that Mr. Akin comprehends how big this problem is,” McCaskill said. “He actually said not too long ago that he thought the farm programs were kind of like bailouts.”
McCaskill is touring the state this week playing up her work as an advocate for Missouri agriculture.
She says Akin’s opposition to the farm bill is typical of Tea Party Republicans who don’t think the government has a role to play in disaster assistance. She says the Senate passed the farm bill with the kind of bipartisan support that Congress just can’t muster.
“Because the Tea Party is refusing to allow it to come to the floor for a vote,” McCaskill said. “And one of those people that is blocking this critical relief for our farmers and ranchers right now is Todd Akin.”
Akin has said in the past that he opposes the bill’s inclusion of food assistance for low income families and other entitlement programs. In a statement today to St. Louis Public Radio, Akin says that McCaskill's agricultural tour is an election-year ploy, and points out that he has garnered the endorsement of the Missouri Farm Bureau.
McCaskill’s seat is one that the GOP feels they have the best chances of recapturing in November.
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