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Separating the agriculture programs from food stamps wouldn't give Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., any heartburn, he told reporters Wednesday. "If it helps them move it through the House, more power to them," Thune said. "Whatever they can do to get a piece of legislation into conference with the Senate, it might be the best we can hope for." The idea to split the ag subsidies and programs from food stamps, also called the nutrition title, emerged after the House defeated the farm bill last month.
If current trends continue, South Dakota will be grayer than the faces of Mount Rushmore in two decades. A recent iGrow report from South Dakota State University's Extension service shows that nearly a quarter of South Dakotans will be over 65 by 2035.
Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., called on the U.S. House Republican leaders to have a vote on the Senate version of a new farm bill after the House version of the bill went down to defeat last week. Johnson told reporters he believes the Senate version of the bill would gain the same bipartisan support in the House as it received in the Senate.
While she characterized it as a bipartisan failure, Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., blamed a veto threat from President Obama for the felling of the farm bill on the U.S. House floor Thursday. Noem told reporters that House leaders believed they had enough votes to pass the bill, but Democratic votes fell far short of expectations. "The president weighed in and really started to lobby the Democrat members against the bill, which I think had a big influence on the final outcome," Noem said. "In the end, only 24 Democrats voted for the bill.
The U.S. Senate defeated a requirement sought Tuesday by Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., to build a border fence before setting undocumented immigrants on a so-called path to citizenship. The amendment failed on a 54-39 vote. Thune, who hasn't been vocal on the immigration issue, plans to submit four more amendments to the massive immigration reform bill now before the Senate. On Tuesday, he criticized his colleagues who voted against the border fence amendment, which would have required 700 miles of double-layer fencing along the U.S.-Mexican border.
When the House Speaker says he'll vote for a bill he wouldn't even bring to the floor last year, Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., calls that "very good news." Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, surprised conservative think tanks and analysts when he said this week he will support the $1 trillion farm bill. But Noem cited a series of reforms in the bill passed by the House Agriculture Committee, including stricter requirements for food stamp recipients, streamlined commodity programs and the elimination of direct payments to farmers. "He doesn't vote for many farm bills.
The farm bill passed by the U.S. Senate earlier this week had too many problems to earn support from Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., so he voted "no." Thune brushed off the accusation by South Dakota Democratic Party Chairman Ben Nesselhuf that his "no" vote was prompted by presidential ambitions and the need to appeal to conservative groups who oppose farm subsidies. "I would remind him, if he's going to make those types of attacks, he probably ought to do his homework," Thune said. "If you look through the annals of history, Tom Daschle voted against four farm bills.
Members of Congress who don't serve on the Intelligence Committee weren't aware of the specific tactics used in recently revealed spying programs that collect massive amounts of phone and Internet records, South Dakota's two senators said Wednesday. When asked if he had been briefed on the programs, as President Obama said this week all member of Congress had been, Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., replied: "Not yet." Sen.
Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., heralded the Senate version of the farm bill, passed Monday, saying it contains long-sought reforms and payment caps. On the other side of the aisle, Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., found enough objectionable provisions to push him into the first "No" vote on a farm bill of his career. Topping Johnson's list are a cap on payments to farmers, something he has long sought.
South Dakota's U.S. senators are working to defend what they believe are crucial parts of a would-be new farm bill as it faces a barrage of amendments on the Senate floor this week and possibly into next week. Both men ticked off a list of programs they support, but Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., identified country-of-origin meat labeling as a top priority and Sen.