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Greg Svenningsen, Valley City, N.D., Published August 25 2012

Letter: Berg, Congress stall farm bill

Congressman Rick Berg, R-N.D., appeared in Fargo with South Dakota Congresswoman Kristi Noem to visit with farm leaders about the failure of the House to move the farm bill.

Both lamented the inability to move it forward. But rather than trying to cast blame somewhere else, Berg and Noem should admit that the seeds for stalling the farm bill were laid when they cast votes for a budget that doesn’t align with the Ag Committee proposal. Berg and Noem voted twice to cut $180 billion from the farm bill, including a

$47 billion cut to commodity, conservation and crop insurance programs.

The real reason Congressman John Boehner won’t bring up the farm bill is because the majority of House Republicans who voted for the Ryan budget firmly believe they have to follow through or the entire budget would be exposed as a fraud. Meanwhile, members like Berg and Noem are signaling support for the committee product, but know they can’t win with their Republican colleagues.

Berg and Noem’s pronouncements of late are nothing more than an effort to deflect responsibility. The time to stand up for farmers and ranchers wasn’t just before the August recess. The time to fight was when Paul Ryan’s budget came to the floor. They knew Ryan’s budget proposal would hurt the farm bill. They knew it was the measuring stick with which their caucus would judge a committee proposal.

If they want to know why it isn’t moving, they only need to look in the mirror and their own congressional record.

Svenningsen is a farmer/rancher.