Sen. Lincoln and Rep. Boozman continue to spar over spending (updated)

Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D) continues to target her fire on Rep. John Boozman's (R) ability to deliver federal dollars to Arkansas.

Lincoln, the chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, had been trying to get $1.5 billion to help farmers in Arkansas and around the country who are coping with natural disasters into a small-business bill. She later agreed to remove the provision after the Obama administration promised to fund the measure through the Department of Agriculture. 

Boozman criticized Lincoln and the White House for the maneuver.

"It looks like they're just trying to bail out somebody who's in a difficult election by somehow coming up with money that there are real questions about whether they have the authority to do it," Boozman told The Associated Press in an interview.

Lincoln's campaign took issue with the remark. 

"If he truly wanted to help Arkansas agricultural producers overcome $400 million in crop losses with an aid package that will boost our state's rural economy, he would help Senator Lincoln get the job done," Steve Patterson, Lincoln's campaign manager, said in a statement Monday. "Instead, he stood in the way and now complains when she worked around him."

The Boozman campaign insisted the Republican "unequivocally supports farmers" but wants "transparency in the process."

"Instead of paying for the relief, Speaker Pelosi [Calif.] put the provision in the 'Tax Extender Bill' which cloaked temporary tax relief in billons of dollars of permanent tax increases while greatly adding to our deficit," Patrick Creamer, a Boozman campaign spokesman, said in a statement. "As for the questions that many have raised surrounding Senator Lincoln’s arrangement with the White House, those are a direct result of the lack of transparency in the process."

In an interview with The Ballot Box last week, Lincoln dismissed the suggestion that a reelection pitch focused on federal dollars was against the grain in a year when spending is motivating street protests.

"I think people really want to see us getting results and that’s what I've worked to do," she said. "I think they appreciate that. I've worked hard for Arkansas and I've been an independent voice for Arkansas and I think that’s what they want."

—Alexander Bolton contributed to this post.

--Updated at 10:38 p.m.