(BISMARCK, ND) – In a refreshing example of bipartisan cooperation, the Senate Ag Committee advanced the 2018 Farm Bill by an overwhelming 20-1 vote, according to a new article featured in the Bismarck Tribune. Both Senators Heitkamp and Hoeven voted in favor of the bill, which avoided the partisan squabbling that derailed a similar effort in the House earlier this spring. Senator Heitkamp played a key role in the crafting, negotiation, and passage of the bill which she described as “a strong, bipartisan bill” that would be able to make it across the finish line.
Heidi’s enthusiasm for finding common ground with her colleagues stands in stark contrast to Kevin Cramer, who has been criticized for playing politics with the Farm Bill ever since he got to Washington. Simply put, Cramer is indifferent to the challenges facing his constituents – dismissing the concerns of his constituents as “hysteria,” claiming that North Dakota’s farmers have a low pain threshold and confessing his belief that playing politics with the farm bill is “what you do in this business.”
While Heidi has been hard at work building bonds across the aisle and getting results, Cramer has been busy passing the buck – blaming the White House for his legislative failures instead of getting things done for North Dakota.
Read a quick recap of the article below:
Bismarck Tribune: Bipartisan Senate farm bill gains momentum with 20-1 committee vote
A strongly bipartisan 20-1 vote by the Senate Ag Committee on Wednesday has sent the five-year 2018 Farm Bill to the full Senate and added momentum to get the measure passed by the time the current bill expires on Sept. 30.
Upper Midwest senators, in what was a somewhat rare move of bipartisanship, praised what has been accomplished so far in interviews and news releases Wednesday and were in agreement that the measure was a priority.
“I am beyond thrilled, “said Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., in a teleconference with reporters. “Members put regional and individual concerns to the side and got a strong, bipartisan bill across the finish line.”
Despite some struggles that lie ahead, the Senate bill may have avoided one big fight. Senators put off any stiffer rules proposed by the House for able-bodied food stamp recipients such as raising the work requirement of 20 hours a week for people up from age 49 to 59 and no longer exempting parents or caretakers with children 6 years old and older.
Heitkamp understands concerns from both sides on the food stamp issue but said that with two-thirds of wage earners in the U.S. making under $20 an hour it sometimes is tough to make ends meet. The senator said there are about 54,000 North Dakotans on food stamps and that 73 percent are families with children and 33 percent had family members who are senior citizens or disabled.