Rep. Kevin Cramer held a forum in Minot yesterday and got asked about budget matters. Rep. Cramer told citizens there that he actually agrees with some things former Senator Kent Conrad has said about entitlement reform:
“The person that I have listened to, who has been most right on point, has been former senator Kent Conrad, who emphatically proclaims that we are not going to deal with our debt if we aren’t going to deal with entitlements,” Cramer said. “Not dealing with entitlements is kicking the can just barely down the road because the due date is coming upon us. The longer we go without fixing it, the more severe the fix will be.”
The bit of bipartisan agreement prompted backlash for Democrats who said that Rep. Cramer isn’t allowed to agree with Senator Conrad about entitlement reform because he voted for a small bit of entitlement reform in the farm bill:
Chad Oban, executive director for the state Democratic-NPL Party, said from Bismarck Wednesday that Cramer may say he agrees with Conrad but he does not vote as Conrad did. He said Cramer has voted for deep cuts in areas such as the nutrition program in the farm bill.
“Those kinds of draconian cuts aren’t what we need in the state,” he said.
The “cuts” in question – you know, the entitlement reform – is a $20.5 billion downsizing in the food stamps program over a decade that is more reduction in spending growth than anything which might be called “draconian.”
Keep in mind that in five years, the food stamps program has gone from 26.5 million national enrollees to 47.6 million. Maybe, just maybe, it’s a program that’s actually in need of downsizing.
But the reaction from Mr. Oban illustrates perfectly the hypocritical style of Senator Conrad’s leadership. He would talk tough about things like entitlement reform, sure, but as Oban points out he would never actually back up his words with action.
Update: Congressman Cramer emails, “While I support these modest cuts in snap, I have not had a chance to vote for them.”
Not only is the Democrats’ attack on Cramer humorous, it is inaccurate too.