Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Agriculture Deputy Secretary Steve Censky’s visitto Fargo today serves as a strong reminder that Sen. Heidi Heitkamp is wrong for North Dakota’s agricultural community.
Their visit comes at the request of Rep. Kevin Cramer, who believes in putting politics aside to help rural North Dakotans. Part of that effort is to put high-ranking administration officials in front of North Dakota’s farmers, ranchers, and producers — which he’s fulfilling again today.
This is in stark contrast to Heidi Heitkamp, who’s fought tooth and nail against this administration’s agricultural policies. A pillarof Heitkamp’s campaign strategy is fanning the flames of farmer’s fears. Meanwhile, she attackedthe last Commerce official to visit North Dakota, failedto deliver on a WOTUS rule repeal, claimsPresident Trump’s endorsed Farm Bill has “poison pills,” and had her campaign calla win for North Dakota’s farmers “politics at its worst” because it could hurt her re-election chances.
Those are not the actions of someone North Dakotans want to see re-elected. As Cramer saidin a recent op-ed, “The best way now to serve North Dakota is to offer solutions, not sound bites.” Clearly Heidi Heitkamp is focused on the opposite.
“Heidi Heitkamp is wrong for North Dakota’s farmers, ranchers, and producers,” said North Dakota Republican Party Communications Director Jake Wilkins. “Kevin Cramer has successfully brought leading administration officials to the table to give North Dakotans a voice, something Heitkamp has failed to do. Her obstructionist tactics and harmful rhetoric- at the detriment of the agricultural community- won’t be forgotten this November.”
Kevin Cramer’s Senate campaign launched a new ad calling out Heitkamp’s liberal allies for their incredibly misleading claims on Cramer’s record.
BACKGROUND: Heidi Heitkamp’s Democrat party boss and high-five partnerChuck Schumer descended on North Dakota to try to help save her failing campaign. Schumer’s Super PAC is airing a false attack adon Cramer’s vote to repeal country of origin labeling (COOL) requirements. What the ad leaves out— Heidi Heitkamp also voted“to repeal country of origin labeling requirements for beef and pork.”
“Desperate to save their fellow liberal Heidi Heitkamp, National Democrats like Chuck Schumer have now resorted to attacking Kevin Cramer for voting for the laws Heitkamp also voted for,” said North Dakota Republican Party Communications Director Jake Wilkins. “North Dakota’s farmers and ranchers are ready to stand with Kevin Cramer this November, and one misleading ad won’t change that.”
Reactions to this announcement further highlighted the stark differences between Heidi Heitkamp and Kevin Cramer.
Heitkamp’s team has previously used this process to play politics with North Dakota’s agricultural community. As John Hageman points out in the story below, “A Heitkamp campaign spokeswoman previously called Cramer’s appointment ‘politics at its worst.’” The Heitkamp campaign spent days using over-the-top rhetoric to attack Cramer as unqualified to write farm policy because he’s not on the Agriculture Committee — a bizarre line of attack given that while her campaign is fixated on health care, Heitkamp does not serve on the Senate HELP Committee.
But when they go low, Cramer goes high.
Rep. Cramer congratulated his colleagues for their appointment, calling the move a “big victory for North Dakota,” and saying he will “deliver the maximum benefits” for his state. This is yet another sign that Kevin Cramer’s top priority is doing what’s best for North Dakota’s farmers and ranchers, rather than playing cheap politics.
In case you missed it…
Heitkamp, Hoeven join farm bill conference committee
John Hageman | Forum News Service
BISMARCK — All three members of North Dakota’s congressional delegation will negotiate a new farm bill with Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp and Republican Sen. John Hoeven announcing their conference committee appointments Wednesday, Aug. 1.
Heitkamp and Hoeven will be two of nine senators on the farm bill conference committee. The multi-year bill includes everything from nutrition assistance to crop insurance and commodity supports.
The current farm bill is set to expire at the end of September.
Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer, who is challenging Heitkamp this fall, was named as one of 47 House farm bill negotiators last month. Democratic Reps. Collin Peterson and Tim Walz, both of Minnesota, joined him.
Roger Johnson, the former North Dakota agriculture commissioner who’s now president of the National Farmers Union, said he doesn’t remember North Dakota ever achieving the same level of representation during farm bill negotiations. But he noted both senators are members of that chamber’s ag committee and the House appointed many conferees.
“Still, (North Dakota) should be well represented — hopefully they all argue for the same things!” he said in an email.
Heitkamp’s office said she’ll have jurisdiction over “every piece” of the bill because she’s on the ag committee. Cramer was appointed through his membership on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and he previously said his jurisdiction would include renewable fuel standards and rural broadband.
A Heitkamp campaign spokeswoman previously called Cramer’s appointment “politics at its worst,” noting that he doesn’t sit on the ag committee and has been more defensive of President Donald Trump’s “reckless” trade policies.
But Heitkamp herself said Wednesday that the appointments were an “excellent thing” for North Dakota. On Twitter, Cramer likewise called it a “big victory” for the state.
In a statement, Heitkamp said completing the farm bill is her “top priority” and called the Senate’s version of the legislation a “strong, bipartisan” bill. The House narrowly passed its version with new food stamp work requirements without any Democratic votes.
Heitkamp and Hoeven both said in interviews that the debate over food stamps, known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, would be the biggest sticking point in the negotiations. Heitkamp suggested the House language would be dead on arrival in the Senate and noted there are already work requirements in the program.
Both Heitkamp and Hoeven were hopeful the bill can be completed before the end of September, although Hoeven said it could “drag out some” with the SNAP debate. And the House’s August recess could complicate the calendar.
“Right now our farmers are facing a lot of uncertainty with the trade issue and low ag prices and so we need to try to get this done as soon as we can,” Hoeven said.
Rob Port detailed Heitkamp’s politically motivated actions, pointing out that politicians like Heitkamp “are opposed to fixing problems that are politically advantageous to them.”
As Heidi Heitkamp continues to play politics with North Dakota farmers, it’s clear Kevin Cramer is the only candidate in this race more focused on helping North Dakota farmers than his own reelection campaign.
In case you missed it…
I think we can adapt the Shirky Principle to politics by saying that politicians are opposed to fixing problems that are politically advantageous to them.
An example of this is Senator Heidi Heitkamp’s recent posturing around the issue of President Trump’s trade war which is creating some undeniable headaches for North Dakota’s agriculture industry. Soybean growers, in particular.
Back in April former North Dakota Senator Kent Conrad, a man Heitkamp has described as a mentor, suggested to the New York Times that the Trump administration “could direct the Commodity Credit Corporation, a government-owned entity, to purchase soybeans to buoy farmers’ revenues” as a way to ease some economic pain among farmers while Trump works on China.
That’s exactly what the Trump administration did:
The aid proposal, which relies in part on a depression-era Department of Agriculture program designed to bail out farmers, is the product of a months-long research effort intended to help the administration see its trade war through by warding off domestic opposition in the farming community.
The depression-era program, known as the Commodity Credit Corporation, is empowered to borrow $30 billion from the Treasury Department absent Congressional approval.
Yet perhaps because the Trump-is-hurting-farmers narrative is too politically convenient for Senator Heitkamp as she trails in the polling of her re-election campaign she’s attacking the very policy proposal her own political mentor suggested.
In a statement quoted by the Associated Press, Heitkamp says Trump’s package “still barely compensates for the losses to farmers and ranchers.” Heitkamp’s political allies at the North Dakota Farmer’s Union, which is basically a branch of the North Dakota Democratic Party at this point, are also downplaying Trump’s policy.
Again, politicians are opposed to fixing problems that are politically advantageous to them. Heitkamp was never going to thank the Trump administration for providing a safety net for farmers as his get-tough negotiations with China produce some economic turbulence. Her campaign has invested a lot of money in rhetoric in messaging about the trade war.
They aren’t going to just throw that away.
Though, to be sure, Trump’s bailout is not really a fix and it is really expensive. Yet those deploying that criticism are seeing the trees and not the forest.
Like it or not, we’re in a trade war with China. A communist country which controls every aspect of their industry and economy. The whole point of China’s retaliatory tariffs is to create political and social pressure on Trump in order to get him to knuckle under.
Backing down from China might be what’s best for Senator Heitkamp’s campaign, but at this point it’s probably not what’s best for our nation in the long term.
Yesterday, North Dakota Democrats released a digital ad falsely claiming Kevin Cramer is ignoring the concerns of North Dakota farmers. This falsehood came just one day after Cramer was appointed to the Farm Bill Conference Committee, a move Cramer welcomed so he could be a strong voice for North Dakota’s farmers, ranchers, and producers.
When Heitkamp’s team heard about this victory for North Dakota, they blasted this great opportunity as “politics at its worst” only because it might hurt her chances at re-election.
Heitkamp is clearly so desperate to distract from her out-of-touch, liberal voting record that she’s trying to turn good news for her state into another partisan, political fight. Unfortunately for her, she has no good reason to oppose Cramer’s involvement with the Farm Bill, though that’s not stopping her team from trying.
“Heidi Heitkamp’s shameless efforts to distract and divide are not going to resonate in North Dakota,” said North Dakota Republican Party spokesman Jake Wilkins. “Heitkamp should quit trying to score cheap political points and follow Kevin Cramer’s lead by focusing on increasing job growth, cracking down on illegal immigration and serving North Dakota’s agricultural community.”
But you wouldn’t know this from listening to Heidi Heitkamp.
Heitkamp’s team shamelessly called this victory for North Dakota farmers “politics at its worst.” Her allies curiously tried to argue Cramer’s appointment doesn’t matter since it was through a different committee, even though ND Democrat Earl Pomeroy was appointed the same way in 2008.
When will Heidi Heitkamp finally end these partisan attacks and focus on serving the needs of North Dakotans?
“Heidi Heitkamp is so out of touch and desperately trying to win reelection that she’s forgotten what is good for her state,” said Jake Wilkins, North Dakota Republican Party spokesman. “While Kevin Cramer is focused on being a strong voice for North Dakota’s farmers and ranchers, it’s clear Heidi Heitkamp only wants to disparage her opponent to save her failing campaign.”