HURON — Fresh off her win for a second term, Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., said Thursday she will press for a House vote on a new five-year farm bill.
A lack of action was a bone of contention in the campaign, with her Democratic challenger, Matt Varilek, repeatedly accusing her of not doing enough after the Senate and House Agriculture Committee passed their versions of the bill.
Passing a farm bill remains her top priority, Noem said in a conference call with reporters.
“With the fiscal cliff looming, the five-year farm bill has stiff competition but that doesn’t mean it can’t get done,” she said.
Lawmakers are back in Washington, D.C., after the seven-week election break, but are set to head home again for the Thanksgiving holiday recess.
Some votes were scheduled this week, and both parties were also picking their leadership. Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., was re-elected to the post of Senate Republican Conference chairman.
Noem said with President Obama’s move this week “to draw a line in the sand” over the future of tax cuts, the farm bill could get caught up in the fiscal cliff negotiations.
Potential exists as well for Congress to consider an extension of the farm bill rather than a full five-year authorization. But if that happens, Noem said it must include disaster programs for livestock producers.
Asked by reporters, she said GOP House leaders want to see the farm bill move forward. There are strong indicators that they want to deal with the legislation by the end of the year, she said.
She said the bill passed by the House Agriculture Committee is a good measure with good reforms in it.
Meanwhile, she said she also wants to see an extension of wind production tax credits. She has cosponsored legislation to do that, and has shared with colleagues the fact that an Aberdeen company has laid off nearly 100 workers because of a lack of orders.
Expiration of the tax credits is hurting the country’s efforts to create jobs, Noem said.
As for the impasse over tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, Noem said she wants to talk about revenues but not when it hurts job creation.
“We really hope the president will lead on this issue,” she said.
Tax reforms like closing loopholes should be done to promote a pro-growth economy. She does not want to see the federal government head over the fiscal cliff at the end of the year.
“We need real policy that’s going to be helpful, not hurtful,” she said.
The president considers taxing the wealthiest Americans to be a mandate from the election, but Noem said the American people want Republicans and Democrats to come together to avoid the cliff now just weeks away.
She said raising taxes on the rich would not even cover 10 percent of the president’s deficit spending goal. For the complete article see the 11-16-2012 issue.
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