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FISCAL CLIFF: Iowans Could Face Cuts

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Washington is running out of time to avoid the fiscal cliff, but instead of working around the clock to solve the problem, the U.S. House dismissed for an early weekend on Thursday.

Iowa Senator Tom Harkin says he is losing confidence that a deal will happen before the January 1 deadline. He says the sides are too far apart to find some middle ground in such a short time.

Harkin is hopeful lawmakers will approve a short-term agreement prior to Christmas to avoid the most harmful aspects of the fiscal cliff.

One of which, could hit home for a lot of Iowans.  Funding for public health departments across the state would see cuts.

The Linn County Health Department says the millions of dollars in funding cuts would likely lead to lay-offs.

“We’re certainly very concerned about the fact that with fewer dollars, we’re going to be able to provide less services. And some of our most vulnerable populations are going to be effected by not receiving those health care services,” said Stephanie Neff with the Linn County Health Department.

Neff says more than 2,000 Iowa children would not receive routine vaccinations. Without vaccination clinics we could start to see more issues like the pertussis outbreak Iowa saw earlier this year.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack seems a little more optimistic that a deal will get done before the end of the year.

Iowa’s former Governor is calling on the House and Senate to complete a new five-year farm bill, since the current bill expired in September.

Vilsack says the bill could be easily attached to any deal to avoid the fiscal cliff.

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