Following is the statement of former North Dakota Attorney General and U.S. Senate Candidate Heidi Heitkamp after Rep. Rick Berg's speech at the Republican National Committee in Tampa today:
"Today, Rep. Rick Berg gave a speech that demonstrated his preference for party allegiances over doing what's best for North Dakota by ignoring his inability to get a Farm Bill passed in the House, and not mentioning one word for our farmers and ranchers who are now grappling with uncertainty and gridlock in Washington," said Heitkamp. "Agriculture is our oldest growth engine but today Rick Berg showed it was more important for him to spend time with those who have stalled the Farm Bill in the House, than fight for North Dakota."
In A Near Unanimous Vote -- That Included The Support Of Senators Conrad And Hoeven -- The Senate Voted To Consider The Farm Bill. In June of 2012, the U.S. Senate voted 90-8 in support of proceeding to consider the five-year Farm Bill. Senators Conrad and Hoeven both voted in support of cloture. [Vote 117, 6/7/12]
Ranking House Ag Committee Member: Berg/Ryan Budget "Guarantee[s] There Will Be No Farm Bill." According to Reuters: "The budget proposed today by Republican House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan would "guarantee there will be no farm bill this year,' Minnesota Representative Colin Peterson said. Republican leaders, in attempting to avoid defense cuts, have chosen to "leave farmers and hungry families hurting,' Peterson, the ranking Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee, said in an e-mailed message. Ryan's plan would cut $30 billion from agriculture spending over 10 years." [Reuters, 3/20/12]
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]
The 2012 Ryan Budget Would've "Cut Federal Payments To Crop Insurance By Around 20 Percent." According to the Delta Farm Press, the Ryan budget "would also cut federal payments to crop insurance by around 20 percent." [Delta Farm Press, 3/20/12]
Forum Editorial: The Berg/Ryan Budget Ag Cuts "Are So Deep They Would Likely Dismember" Crop Insurance. The bill proposed by House and Senate ag committees makes major cuts in farm program spending, which are necessary. But the bipartisan Senate bill does not sacrifice a market-based safety net for producers. Nor does it scuttle a better USDA/private insurer crop insurance partnership. Ryan's cuts are so deep they likely would dismember both." [Fargo Forum, 4/17/12]
Grand Forks Herald Editorial: The Ryan Budget Would "Slashes Farm Aid." According to an editorial by the Grand Forks Herald slamming the Ryan budget, they wrote: "Clearly, the reason we'll play later is that if Ryan had played Monday, he would have had to acknowledge that his long-term budget proposal slashes farm aid -- and national parks, air-traffic control and just about everything else." [Grand Forks Herald, 8/13/12]