Washington Republicans derailed the vital bill over unrelated immigration squabble
Cramer refuses to stand up to hardliners in his party, says it’s “not inappropriate” to jeopardize legislation that many hardworking North Dakotans depend on
(BISMARCK, ND) – At one time, collaborating on the Farm Bill served as a rare example of cooperation in Washington, according to a recent editorial reprinted in the Bismarck Tribune. Apparently, those days are long gone, as far-right conservatives in the House of Representatives have steered this year’s Farm Bill way off of the bipartisan course over a wholly unrelated political vote.
North Dakota’s lone representative in the House would normally be expected to serve as an advocate for the legislation, which is widely supported by farmers and ranchers in rural states. But not Kevin Cramer. Cramer, a proud member of an ideological caucus that backs anti-farming legislation, has refused to stand up to the right flank of his party, describing their actions to sink the bill as “not inappropriate.” Opposing bipartisanship is nothing new for Cramer, who has been criticized in the past for politicizing farm bills and is currently feeling the heat for his complaints over the president’s close relationship with Senator Heitkamp.
Meanwhile, Heitkamp is working diligently across the aisle to help craft a strong, bipartisan Farm Bill in the Senate, and has repeatedly expressed her support for cooperation on this critical legislation.
Highlights from the editorial below:
Bismarck Tribune via Lincoln Journal Star: Farm bill’s failure shows partisanship
Recently, the House’s proposal to replace the current farm bill that expires later this year failed in spectacular fashion.
What once inspired thoughtful policy debate on the agriculture industry, conservation, food assistance and more has increasingly become a proxy war for unrelated topics. Given the importance of the farm bill, that’s a crying shame. Americans deserve better of their Congress.
At one time, hashing out the farm bill was among the most bipartisan exercises on Capitol Hill. Why? Because representatives and senators all sought to please key constituencies in their states, with all regions benefiting from ag policy, food stamps, environmental rules and more.
Instead, this year’s version — which was admittedly flawed — died not on its own merits but largely because a small cadre of immigration hard-liners wanted to trip up an unrelated bill regarding “Dreamers.”
Some might call that playing politics. But therein lies the problem.
Politics don’t have to be a zero-sum game. No compelling reason exists as to why Americans can’t enjoy both updated farm policy and much-needed immigration reform, beyond the people elected to the office deciding that scoring political points in an election year was more important than passing laws for those same constituents.