Craw­ford courts Florid­i­ans on Cuba

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - WASHINGTON -

U.S. Rep. Rick Craw­ford wants to make it eas­ier for farmers to do busi­ness in Cuba, but his leg­is­la­tion faces op­po­si­tion from some mem­bers of the Florida con­gres­sional del­e­ga­tion.

On Thurs­day, the Repub­li­can from Jones­boro made his case di­rectly to Florid­i­ans, speak­ing at a fo­rum spon­sored by Florida In­ter­na­tional Univer­sity’s Jack D. Gor­don In­sti­tute for Pub­lic Pol­icy.

Craw­ford spoke from Washington, D.C., join­ing other pan­elists in Mi­ami. The roughly 45-minute event was broad­cast on Face­book Live.

The fed­eral gov­ern­ment doesn’t al­low farmers to ex­tend credit to Cuban pur­chasers. Re­mov­ing the re­stric­tion in­creases the like­li­hood that Cubans will buy Arkansas rice and give U.S. agri­cul­ture a boost, Craw­ford said.

Arkansas’ 1st Con­gres­sional Dis­trict, which Craw­ford rep­re­sents, pro­duces more rice than any other dis­trict in the United States.

Leg­is­la­tion al­low­ing credit sales is pop­u­lar among farmers and has sub­stan­tial sup­port on Capi­tol Hill, he said, not­ing sim­i­lar ef­forts by his Repub­li­can col­league, U.S. Sen. John Booz­man of Rogers.

“We’re build­ing sup­port in the House, and we al­ready know that the sup­port is there in the Se­nate,” he said. “We are ac­tively work­ing this is­sue as ag­gres­sively as we can.”

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