WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Jonesboro, announced Friday that he will not attend the Republican National Convention in later this month.
"Instead of attending my party’s national convention later this month, I will be in Arkansas making sure farm families are getting the help they need from federal and state agencies," Crawford said in a message on his Facebook page.
The announcement came as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee churned out press releases blasting House Republicans for being "on a five-week, tax-payer funded vacation."
"With only 13 scheduled days of work in Congress left before the election, economists agree that Congressman Crawford is driving the middle class off a fiscal cliff while he is enjoying a taxpayer-funded vacation," said DCCC spokesman Jesse Ferguson.
Ferguson was referring to a recent Wall Street Journal survey of economists on the looming "fiscal cliff."
"In January, $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts are set to begin, while a series of tax cuts enacted under President George W. Bush and extended under President Barack Obama, as well as temporary reductions to payroll taxes, are scheduled to expire. All but four of the economists who answered the question said that without a deal, concerns and preparations about the coming fiscal cliff will drag on growth for the remainder of the year," the Journal wrote.
House members is on their traditional August recess and won’t return to session until Sept. 10.
Crawford said that his focus this month is on helping farm families who have faced the worst drought in more than three decades.
"My staff and I will be assisting producers as they cope with this terrible natural disaster," he said.
Earlier this week the Obama Administration announced that more than $3.7 million in federal funds is available to help farmers and ranchers in Arkansas through programs managed by the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Applications are being accepted at county USDA service centers through Aug. 14.
The 2012 Republican National Convention will be held during the week of Aug. 27 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has been given a speaking role.
Reps. Steve Womack, R-Rogers, and Tim Griffin, R-Little Rock, plan to attend.