Updated 10/08/2012 10:20 PM
House Majority Leader Cantor visits Watertown, discusses Farm Bill
Late last month, the Farm Bill failed to make it to the house floor for a vote and it expired, leaving farmers uncertain of how to handle the upcoming months. The bill was supported by both Congressman Bill Owens and his opponent in the upcoming election, republican Matt Doheny. Both were very critical of house leadership. Monday, our Brian Dwyer was there as one of those leaders visited Watertown, stumping for Doheny's campaign. He has more on the visit and what the pair had to say about the Farm Bill.
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WATERTOWN, N.Y. -- Eric Cantor is not only a top republican in the House, he's the majority leader.
A big player throwing some big support to the republican hoping to win the North Country Congressional seat next month, Matt Doheny. The two toured Knowlton Technologies, a small business in Watertown.
"Our party and the country can best be served by listening to folks such as Matt Doheny who understands how the country was built," Cantor said.
Doheny is challenging incumbent democrat Bill Owens. The two often disagree, but when it comes to the North Country's biggest industry, farming and the bill that helps farmers map out their future, the Farm Bill, well both supported the 2012 version.
But that version never made it to the house floor for a vote. The old one expired and now farmers don't have any version to guide them this fall.
"It's troubling that we don't have both parties wanting to go ahead and bring the bill, not only to the floor, but to actually have the votes to pass," Doheny said.
"Exactly why I'm here, to understand what it is that Matt is for, so we can be advocates for basically the small business people who are dairymen here in the region," Cantor added.
But again, while not completely agreeing with everything in it, Doheny did want the bill passed. That's seemingly not the case for Cantor, who says changes need to be made, especially to the non-farming aspects of the bill, like SNAP and food stamps.
"Eighty-five percent of the bill is not necessarily what a lot of farmers and dairymen are looking for and we're trying to get the reforms in place so we can have a bill that addresses the needs of the people in the farm industry," Cantor said.
"The leader and I, we've talked about it. He certainly knows I'm a passionate advocate to make sure our family farmers' dairy crop or otherwise actually have the certainty," Doheny added.
So for the bill as a whole, the two will have to agree to disagree. Doheny acknowledging the bill will no question have to change before it can be brought to vote. He tells us parties have to come together and some of those programs Cantor was talking about will have to be adjusted as well. And he's not necessarily against that.
As for Bill Owens, he is calling out Doheny for even hosting Cantor. He says Cantor failed to bring the bill to the floor for a vote and that Doheny was thinking more about politics than farmers Monday when he brought Cantor to Watertown.