LETTER: Passing farm bill should be Noem’s biggest priority; instead, Congress in recessSince the last election, “kicking the can down the road” has become standard practice in the U.S. House. Now that dysfunction is hitting home.
By: Matt Varilek, Candidate for Congress, Sioux Falls
To the Editor:
Since the last election, “kicking the can down the road” has become standard practice in the U.S. House. Now that dysfunction is hitting home. Despite the worst drought in decades, the Tea Party-dominated House hasn’t even scheduled a vote on the farm bill.
The current farm bill expires Sept. 30. With bipartisan supporters including Senators Johnson and Thune, the Senate passed a new farm bill in July. That’s the kind of practical approach we need.
But not even this catastrophic drought has prodded the House into action. Its members are on a five-week recess, enjoying parades and campaigning for their re-elections, even as crops wither and livestock producers struggle.
The Senate bill showed we can restore a strong safety net, even as we cut spending and preserve investments in biofuels, conservation, rural development, and nutrition.
Our lone voice in the House should use every tool available to get the job done.
We need to pass a farm bill now, and there is a path forward. Representatives from both parties are collecting signatures to force a vote, even if House leaders object. I want South Dakotans to know where I stand: I support forcing a vote on the farm bill, and I urge my opponent to do the same.
Rep. Noem said at Dakotafest — contradicting her earlier position — that she would sign that petition, but we’re still waiting for her to back up her words with deeds.
I’m running for Congress to restore the bipartisan tradition in which our lone voice in the House serves as an aggressive advocate for farmers and ranchers — in Committees and everywhere else. That leadership is missing now. But that’s the kind of leadership South Dakota deserves, and that’s the kind of leader I will be.