Why is Kevin Cramer part of this anti-agriculture caucus?
More than 300 ag groups – including North Dakota Farm Bureau – write Congress opposed to partisan Farm Bill amendments
(BISMARCK, ND) – During the debate over the last Farm Bill, the Williston Herald excoriated Kevin Cramer for politicizing what’s usually bipartisan legislation. But it looks like Kevin Cramer is putting partisan politics ahead of farmers and ranchers once again – the Republican Study Committee, which Cramer is part of, is trying to tank the Farm Bill and gut important programs North Dakota’s ag producers rely on.
Additionally, more than 300 agriculture groups – including the North Dakota Farm Bureau, North Dakota Corn Growers Association and the North Dakota Grain Growers Association – wrote to Congress opposing many of the radical ideas Cramer’s Republican Study Committee have proposed.
“Once again, Kevin Cramer is putting partisan politics ahead of North Dakota’s farmers and ranchers – joining a right-wing caucus with an extreme anti-agriculture agenda,” said Scott McNeil, Executive Director of the North Dakota Democratic-NPL. “Cramer has never served on the Agriculture Committee – now, his Republican Study Committee is pushing for severe cuts to crop insurance and farm safety net programs our ag producers rely on. The Farm Bill shouldn’t be partisan, and it’s a shame Cramer and his colleagues are using it as a vehicle to drive a destructive, anti-agriculture agenda.”
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That comes just a few hours after the more than 150 member-strong Republican Study Committee circulated a memo spelling out their own criticism of the agriculture text.
The RSC memo released Tuesday raised several concerns echoed by conservative outside groups such as The Heritage Foundation and Taxpayers for Common Sense. Despite the Trump administration’s backing of the proposal, they’ve criticized its failure to slash commodity subsidies paid to farmers and its proposal to expand state-run employment programs that are part of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
Conservatives have been hounding GOP leaders to allow amendments on the legislation that would alleviate their concerns. One such proposal from Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) would revamp the U.S. sugar program in the bill that conservatives call “corporate welfare.” Another from Meadows would limit commodity payments to “actively engaged” farmers and permit only one farm manager per operation to claim subsidy payments.
The memo says that RSC members may be disappointed that the legislation doesn’t take steps to reduce government subsidization of agriculture or make changes to the federal crop insurance program — pointing out that the White House’s budget proposal for fiscal 2019 called for lowering the average premium subsidy for crop insurance to 48 percent, from 62 percent.
Last month, the RSC released a budget proposal for fiscal 2019 that called for heavy cuts to be made to a variety of farm bill programs.