Yesterday I was pretty critical of how Rep. Kevin Cramer was handling the farm bill. Instead of standing on principle and talking about the legions of problems with that bill – not the least of which is the fact that controversial food stamps spending comprises roughly 80% of the appropriations in it – he chose to take the path of least political resistance.
But there is a definite double standard being applied by Cramer’s critics. The Grand Forks Herald today heaps responsibility for passing the farm bill directly on Cramer’s shoulders:
Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., and other House Republicans from farm states now should call for the stripping of the amendments and a vote on the streamlined bill. Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., and a former secretary of agriculture, put it best when he spoke about the Farm Bill that passed the Senate: “This bill would not be a perfect piece of legislation. It’s not the Farm Bill I would have necessarily written.
“But the conclusion I reached is that it is far better than no Farm Bill at all.” That’s lawmaking in a nutshell, and Cramer should do his part to make it happen.
The Democrats, too, are blaming Rep. Cramer for the farm bill:
Cramer blames defeat of FB on 'extremists in both parties'Congrats for finally taking responsibility for your failed leadership Congressman!
— ND Dem-NPL (@nddemnpl) June 25, 2013
The thing is, this isn’t the standard Senator Heidi Heitkamp is held to when it comes to the Keystone XL pipeline. That pipeline, which both Republicans and Democrats in North Dakota agree is an important bit of energy infrastructure for the state, has been sandbagged by endless regulatory scrutiny for years now.
Senator Heitkamp campaigned on standing up to President Obama to get the pipeline built. But now that Heitkamp is in the Senate, the delays continue and Heitkamp is often in the background on the issue.
So, if we’re going to call on Rep. Kevin Cramer (as one member of a chamber with hundreds of legislators in it) to singlehandedly solve the farm bill’s problems can we then call on Senator Heitkamp to solve the Keystone pipeline obstructionism by herself?