South Dakota Congresswoman Requests President’s Support in Building a Bipartisan Coalition to Pass Farm BillMon, 20 Aug 2012 11:34:44 CDT
Congresswoman Kristi Noem sent a letter to President Obama to seek his assistance in building a stronger bipartisan coalition in the U.S. House for a Farm Bill.
In Iowa last week, President Obama made the following remarks on the drought that is impacting South Dakota and states across the U.S.: “The best way to help these states is for leaders in Congress to pass a farm bill that not only helps farmers and ranchers respond to natural disasters, but also makes necessary reforms and gives them some long-term certainty.”
Noem agrees with the President that the best drought assistance the federal government can provide farmers and ranchers is the certainty of a Farm Bill.
Noem highlighted the historical bipartisan support for past Farm Bills in her letter and wrote, “I would welcome your assistance in building support amongst the Democratic Caucus and would ask that you request that they publicly support our Farm Bill. We need to put politics aside and come together to get this Farm Bill done. Agriculture and rural America are too important to make this a partisan issue.”
Here is the full text of Noem's letter:
August 16, 2012
Dear Mr. President,
As you are aware, many current Farm Bill policies expire on September 30, 2012. The House Agriculture Committee passed H.R. 6083, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act, the House version of the Farm Bill, on July 12th with strong bipartisan support. Like you, I agree that we need to bring a Farm Bill to the floor so it can ultimately be signed into law. That is why I am writing to ask for your help in speaking with Members of Congress from your party to urge them to support a Farm Bill on the House floor.
Historically, the Farm Bill has passed the House of Representatives not along party lines, but with broad support from both parties regardless of who held the majority. Currently, members of both parties have objections to the Farm Bill, which has precluded us from building the bipartisan coalition that this important legislation typically enjoys. For example, the top Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee has stated publicly that he believes there are around 40 Democratic votes to pass the House Agriculture Committee-passed Farm Bill. While every vote is helpful, there has often been a much broader number of minority votes for Farm Bills in the recent past.
Please understand that I am not assigning blame to your party; I am aware that there are objections from members of my party and I have been working to address them. I have joined Democratic Representative Peter Welch of Vermont to garner bipartisan support among our colleagues to bring a Farm Bill to the floor. As I continue working to build support amongst my party for this critical legislation, I would welcome your assistance in building support amongst the Democratic Caucus and would ask that you request that they publicly support our Farm Bill.
We need to put politics aside and come together to get this Farm Bill done. Agriculture and rural America are too important to make this a partisan issue. I truly believe that if we are serious about getting a Farm Bill done, we can and must work together and do what is best for agriculture and our country. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Member of Congress
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