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This article from home town newspaper, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, highlights how the delay with the farm bill vote could be beneficial for Democratic Senate candidates in tough races, especially North Dakota Democratic Senate candidate, Heidi Heitkamp, who is in a close race with Republican Congressman, Rick Berg:
The stalled farm bill could influence some House races, though polls show that chamber will probably remain under Republican control. It is in the Senate, where Democrats hold 51 seats, that a handful of races could tip the balance of power. Republicans have 47 and need three more to control the chamber. Two senators are independents who caucus with Democrats.This article goes on to state that the stalled farm bill would become a big issue for Democratic Senate candidates like Jon Tester (D. MT), Joe Donnelly (D. IN) and Tammy Baldwin (D. WI), but the Heitkamp's campaign was the main focus of this article:
Inaction on the farm bill may weaken the GOP Senate effort in rural, conservative states such as North Dakota and Montana that are out of reach for Democrats at the presidential leve, yet still attainable in congressional races, said political science professor Steffen Schmidt at Iowa State University in Ames.
"In some states, it will be a big issue," Mr. Schmidt said in an interview, noting that divisions in the House between rural lawmakers who support subsidies and budget hawks within the Republican caucus have made it difficult for that chamber to pass a bill. "The Democrats could make a lot of hay because it's the Republicans that are blocking passage." - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 9/23/12
Democratic Senate candidate Heidi Heitkamp is walking through neat rows of soybeans in blue jeans and a fleece jacket, with a silo and grain bins visible in the background, talking about the need to put North Dakota farmers ahead of partisanship.You can read more about Heitkamp's stance on agriculture from her website:
That TV ad, which debuted Sept. 13, is the latest in a series of appeals to the state's rural voters. She often reminds them that the Republican-led House has failed to even vote on the every-five-year agriculture policy bill that funds subsidies for farmers. She credits that pitch with helping nudge the North Dakota Senate race from a probable Republican pickup to a tossup.
"Agriculture is still king in this state," Ms. Heitkamp, who is challenging Republican Rep. Rick Berg in the race to succeed retiring Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad, said in an email. "You can't represent North Dakota in the United States Senate without fully representing our farmers and ranchers." - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 9/23/12
Hereâs an outline of how we can protect and grow North Dakotaâs ag economy:
Protect and Strengthen Crop Insurance
It is imperative that we provide a pragmatic safety net so that our family and small farms are shielded from catastrophic losses. The most crucial protection for our farmers is a robust crop insurance program that assists North Dakotaâs farmers when conditions beyond their control devastate their crops or yields.Rick Berg is a right-wing extremist who has voted lock-step with his party in the GOP's on going obstructionism to prevent President Obama from doing anything to help speed up economic recovery but Berg himself realized that his party stalling the farm bill could lead to his loss this November:
My opponent, on the other hand, marched in lockstep with his party leaders and voted to cut crop insurance during his first year in Congress.
Support a Senate Farm Bill That Works for North Dakota
No bill is perfect, and any bill in these tough fiscal times will require sacrifice, but the bi-partisan Senate Farm Bill that passed with votes from both of North Dakotaâs Senators, Kent Conrad and John Hoeven, makes real cuts to the bottom line to help reduce the deficit by billions while keeping intact the basic safety net that ensures North Dakotaâs farmers will continue to be an economic engine for our state.
Given North Dakotaâs unpredictable climate and weather, farmers should be given the choice to select the coverage that best suits their circumstances. For some that would mean opting for farm level coverage rather than be forced to accept a county-by-county revenue plan. Finally, we should be cautious not to construct a farm bill that unfairly favors one region of the country or that encourages producers to plant for the program rather than the market.
Defend the Sugar Program
The sugar program is vital to North Dakotaâs agricultural economy, providing thousands of direct and indirect jobs in North Dakota and adding hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of jobs to the stateâs economy each year.
The sugar program operates at no cost to the government and helps put American farmers on equal footing with foreign growers. As Senator, I will fight to make sure that we retain the sugar program.
While he might claim to support the program here in North Dakota, my opponent voluntarily chose to join a Congressional group with stated opposition to the Sugar Program.
Protect Small Family Farms From Burdensome Federal Rules
Too often the federal government tries to apply one size fits all rules and, when it does, they often donât work for small farmers and ranchers. I will go to Washington and fight against unnecessary and redundant paperwork. Farmers should be working their fields and ranchers should be tending their herds, they should not be stuck at the kitchen table buried in government-mandated paperwork.
Rep. Rick Berg, R-N.D., has been working to get House leadership to act on the farm bill.This just goes to show how unpopular the Republican brand name is. Berg should be winning in this state with Romney but even voters in North Dakota are realizing the harm GOP obstruction is doing to this country. Berg may have broken off from his party on this issue but it won't be enough to save him. Heitkamp is an amazing Democratic candidate who pistolSO pointed out would mean progress in the Senate and it sounds like Heitkamp's views are more along the lines of former North Dakota Senator Byron Dorgan than retiring Senator Kent Conrad:
Prior to Congress leaving for its August recess, Berg gave House leadership a letter signed by 61 representatives calling for a vote on the bill.
Berg also is one of three sponsors of a bispartisan discharge petition filed Sept. 13 by Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa. A discharge petition forces a bill to the floor for a vote if a majority of 218 members of Congress sign on. The petition has more than 50 signatures.
In a Thursday statement, Berg expressed disappointment in his party leadership.
âHouse leadership had handled this entire farm bill situation poorly since it should have happened months ago,â Berg said. - The Bismarck Tribune, 9/20/12
Dorgan was one of the few Senators to vote against repealing Glass-Steagall and even warned us of the impact the repeal would have on the economy. pistolOS also showcases Berg's views on abortion and Social Security are in lock step's with Paul Ryan's:
There is no doubt that Mitt Romney will win North Dakota but this is a split-ticket race. Before Heitkamp entered this race, it looked like this was a sure win for Berg but now the NRSC has to spend money in a state that is their home turf:
The GOP is also getting help from Karl Rove's American Crossroads and the Koch Brothers' Americans For Prosperity in trying to buy this election. We not only need to keep the Senate blue, we also need to help increase our numbers. Nebraska is a guaranteed Republican gain and Maine is a guaranteed win for our side and I have no douts that Angus King (I) will caucus with the Democrats. But what better way to send the GOP packing this year than to win a seat on their home turf. Farmers need a strong voice in the Senate and we need another Senator to help hold Wall Street accountable. lets help get Heitkamp elected this year: