Kicking off a three-day bus trip across Iowa, President Obama added a tour of a family farm to his itinerary and slammed Republicans for not passing the Farm Bill -- which he said could help drought-affected farmers and ranchers across the U.S.
He singled out his Republican challenger's new running mate, Paul Ryan, as one of obstructionists.
"Right now folks here in Iowa and across the heartland are suffering from one of the worst droughts in 50 years," Obama said at his first event in Council Bluffs, Iowa. "Farmers and ranchers depend on a good crop season to pay the bills and put a roof over their heads, and I know that things are tough right now.
"The best way to help these states is for leaders in Congress to pass a farm bill that not only helps farmers and ranchers respond to natural disasters, but also makes necessary reforms and gives them some long-term certainty. But right now, too many members of Congress are blocking that bill from becoming law. Now, I’m told Governor Romney’s new running mate might be around Iowa these next few days. And he’s one of those leaders of Congress standing in the way. So if you happen to see Congressman Ryan, tell him how important this farm bill is to Iowa and our rural communities. It’s time to put politics aside and pass it right away."
"But the folks suffering from this drought can’t wait for Congress to do its job. So in the meantime, I’ve made sure my Administration is doing everything we can to provide relief to those who need it. Last week, we announced $30 million to help farmers and ranchers, get more water to livestock, and rehabilitate land affected by the drought. Today, we’re announcing that the federal government will help livestock producers by purchasing over $150 million worth of meat and fish now, while prices are low, and freeze it for later."
House Republicans took offense to his assertions, saying the "Democratic-controlled Senate left town for August without taking action on a drought aid bill that passed the House with bipartisan support, including the support of Chairman Ryan.
"The weak attempt by the White House to manufacture a controversy illustrates the president’s desperation to change the subject to anything other than his failures on jobs and the economy," said Kevin Smith, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner.