Will Iowa Senator Tom Harkin Push Family Farmers Over the ‘Fiscal Cliff’?

The Washington Post reported this morning that Iowa Senator Tom Harkin is prepared to vote against any ‘fiscal cliff’ deal that would extend the current  exemption level on the Federal estate tax.  If a deal is not reached by midnight tonight, the current $5 million exmption will fall to 1$ million, with devastating consequences for many struggling family farmers.

“If we’re going to have some kind of a deal, the deal must be one that really does favor the middle class, the real middle class, those that are making $50,000, $60,000, $70,000 a year,” Harkin said on the Senate floor Monday morning. “That’s the real middle class in America. As I see this thing developing, quite frankly, as I’ve said before — no deal is better than a bad deal. And this looks like a very bad deal the way this is shaping up.”

Harkin – whose state of Iowa is home to thousands of family farms – was reacting to reports in Monday’s Washington Post that Vice President Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) were on the verge of striking a deal with would permit a vote on allowing the Federal estate tax exemption and rates to remain at their current low levels. Apparently, Senator Harkin doesn’t include hard-working family farmers within his definition of middle class Americans, something voters in Iowa should remember when Harkin is up for re-election in 2014.

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