By Rep. Kristi Noem
Both before I was elected to Congress — and since — my thinking on congressional recesses has always been that they are a good thing. After all, what harm can Congress do while it’s not in session, right?
Well, this year is different. South Dakota’s farmers and ranchers are suffering from one of the worst droughts we’ve seen in decades, and the gridlock over the farm bill in Congress isn’t helping.
On Aug. 2, the House voted to extend disaster assistance to livestock producers on a 223-197 vote, which I supported. However, what we really need is a full five-year farm bill that would provide more certainty and allow for better planning and decision making by our agricultural job creators.
It’s wrong for Congress to leave for five weeks without a farm bill. That’s why I voted against a Congressional recess. This vote may not make me popular with my party’s leadership, but it’s the right vote for South Dakota.
Getting a strong farm bill passed is my number one priority. I will continue meeting with House leaders, many of whom aren’t from farm states, to explain the critical importance of the farm bill. I will also continue working with Democrat Congressman Peter Welch from Vermont to build bipartisan support for bringing the bill to the floor. Our letter to Congressional leaders garnered 79 signatures from Republicans and Democrats urging a vote. Now this bi-partisan group will keep working through August to gather even more support.
South Dakota’s farmers and ranchers need certainty, and that means getting a five-year farm bill passed. I will not stop fighting to get it done.
Read more: http://www.mitchellrepublic.com/event/article/id/68663/group/Opinion/