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Representative Kristi Noem discusses the Farm Bill, government spending and Obama Care

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Representative Kristi Noem, South Dakota  (KELO file photo)
Representative Kristi Noem, South Dakota (KELO file photo)

Sioux Falls, S.D. (KELO AM) - In Washington D.C. getting a bill through the House, the Senate and in front of the President is a tall order.  For Representative Kristi Noem (R) South Dakota, it seems some people on Capitol Hill have lost the ability to put people ahead of politics. 

“A lot of representatives don’t have agriculture in their districts and attached the nutrition title which had to do with food which got a lot of people to support the bill,” said Noem.  “In the past, 80-percent of the farm bill was tied to that title which was dragging the agriculture portion down.  I can understand people have concerns that this is going to be tough to pass a bill with people who don’t understand agriculture.”

Noem said that when the Farm Bill failed the first time on the House Floor, she was disappointed because she worked hard for two years on the policies that were in it.  It was a bill that had the most reforms ever on the farm policy side and on the nutrition level.  It included a 36-percent reduction in Agriculture spending and we were really proud of the bill that worked through committee.

“When I came back to conference the next week and Speaker Boehner stood up and said they were looking for ideas to pass the farm bill, and Eric Cantor didn’t talk about the Farm Bill, I was offended,” said Noem.  “I stood up and reminded them that they are our leaders and I expected them to come up with a plan to get this important policy put into place.  After that, I had many private meetings in their offices and they assured me that we would have something before August.”

Noem said the bill was sent to the Senate so that conference can begin.  We need to appoint members to that conference that will discuss the differences between the two bills. She feels the House Bill’s language is much better especially when it comes to the Commodity Title when it comes to prices that are set so arbitrarily high in the Senate version which doesn’t do justice to the tax payers. 

“People don’t want farm bills any more that puts money into people’s pockets of those who don’t need it,” said Noem.   “People want a safety net to assure we can still grow food in our own country, and that is what the House Bill does.  We have a lot to discuss with the Senate and that conference committee will probably need the entire month of August to work that out so we can come back and vote on it before the current language runs out at the end of September.”

Noem said she is so proud of the South Dakota farmers and ranchers who have been cut twice in the last five years but we will step up again and be a part of the solution.  The problem is, we don’t hear that from other industries and if we did it to the Nutrition Title we would hear outrage clear across the nation. 

“We need to continue to farm and grow our own food in this country, and I think that is a national security issue,” said Noem.  “Whether we have a drought or bad weather, we need to have crop insurance and that is a safety net we need to maintain. 

On the Obama Care Employer Mandate, Noem said the President doesn’t have the authority to do that.  The House has voted over 39 times to repeal the bill because it isn’t good for families or good for America.  If the President wants to relieve the employer of this burden, everyone out there needs the same relief. 

“For me personally and for other members of the House, we don’t see this as shocking because we have seen the president take this sort of action before,” said Noem.  "It should shake the American people to the core that we have a President who doesn’t adhere to the very laws he championed.  When you think of the other laws in the country he may thumb his nose, and that is a very scary thing to think about.”

Noem said the Congress is the last wall of defense to hold the President accountable for his actions.  We have to hold the oversight hearings and defund the actions he wants to take that we feel aren’t correct or lawful.  

“It’s difficult to do Continuing Resolutions because they are a short term fix,” said Noem.  “We put forward our appropriation bills that we discuss in the House and the Senate hasn’t put forward one bill.  Now that we have held them accountable with the No Budget No Pay Act, they started down the road of doing appropriation bills and that is how you get at those spending levels and get at Obama Care.”

Representative Kristi Noem was interviewed on the Greg Belfrage show July 17, 2013.

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