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Breaking: Berg and House Leaders to Hang North Dakota Farmers Out To Dry, May Not Even Take Up Farm Bill At All

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Location: Mandan, ND

Former North Dakota Attorney General and Senate candidate Heidi Heitkamp released the following statement as the U.S. House takes up a Farm Bill that national reporters have reported not only favors Southern producers, but may not make it out of the House at all.

"Rick Berg voted for the Ryan Budget that slashes Ag spending by $180 billion, and then claimed he supported the Senate Farm Bill, two proposals that are as far apart as Bismarck from Washington," said Heitkamp. "It's time for Rep. Berg to stop toeing the party line and do what's best for North Dakota, and what's best for North Dakota is the bipartisan Senate Farm Bill."

Politico reported this week, in the House Farm Bill proposal "the biggest winners are Southern crops like rice and peanuts." [Politico, Senate, House farm bills follow different paths, 7/8/12]

And today, The Hill reported that House Speaker John Boehner may block the bill from even coming up for a vote:

"Speaker John Boehner's (R-Ohio) history with farm bills and with his GOP freshman class indicate that this year's measure is headed nowhere fast…'Boehner hates the farm bill,' one lobbyist said. "Every time he has had the choice to bring up a bipartisan bill and face a large defection, he has decided not to. I don't see him risking embarrassment for a farm bill.' … On top of his personal distaste for farm subsidies, the Speaker is unlikely to act on an expensive bill that could fracture his conference so close to the election."
Background:

January: Berg Suggests He Has Deep Relationships in the House. According to the Bismarck Tribune: "The freshman congressman said Tuesday if elected to the Senate, his ability to use his connections in the House would be valuable in creating better coordination and legislative action between the two chambers. "I'm going to have a tremendous connection with all the House committees,' Berg said. "I will have spent two years in the House. I think it puts me in a good spot in the Senate.'" [Bismarck Tribune, 1/11/12]

June: House GOP Majority Leader Has "Push[ed] The Pause Button" On The Farm Bill. According to Politico: "The House Agriculture Committee is abruptly pulling back from its planned farm bill markup next week, amid signs that Republican leaders want a pause to consider how to proceed given the progress made in the Senate on its five-year bill. Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) told POLITICO that he will move "hell or high water" when lawmakers return after the July 4th recess. But he confirmed the change in plans, which came after discussions with Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.). Cantor's involvement is an ominous sign for farm bill advocates, but his aides insisted that the Virginia Republican was not saying "no' to any House farm bill this summer. Instead, they said the majority leader wanted to "push the pause button' and allow time for some assessment of the political situation." [Politico, 6/20/12]

Berg "following" Farm Bill. According to the Bismarck Tribune, Rick Berg said: "The ag bill is something I have been following very closely in both the House and Senate." [Bismarck Tribune, 6/21/12]

The Fargo Forum Editorial Board Criticized Berg For His "Enthusiastic Support For The Ryan Budget's Slash-And-Burn Cuts In Farm Programs."In a July 2012 editorial, the Fargo Forum wrote: "Berg has yet to satisfactorily explain how his apparently enthusiastic support for the Ryan budget's slash-and-burn cuts in farm programs comports with legislation that works for North Dakota producers, i.e., the Senate farm bill." [Fargo Forum, 7/4/12]


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