Once again, the U.S. House of Representatives blocked a long-term farm bill, denying its own version of the bill Thursday.
The trend is somewhat disturbing as it seems the Senate version is destined to fail there as well.
North Dakota farmers and ranchers, along with those around the U.S., deserve to have the security of a long-term bill and increased crop insurance.
By failing its version of the bill, the House did a disservice to those farmers and ranchers.
Was the bill perfect?
Yet, we feel this bill deserved its chance to be passed and moved along to a conference committee between the two chambers, where differences in the bills could be hashed out for the greater good of American agriculture.
We agree with Sen. John Hoeven when he said the House needs to reconsider and pass the bill.
To do this, North Dakota needs its representation to step up.
Looking beyond the cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), a prickly point for state and national Democrats, Congressman Kevin Cramer did one thing former Congressman Rick Berg didn’t do — voted yes.
More needs to be done though.
In his post-vote statement, Cramer said he was active in encouraging both parties to support the bill despite calls from the White House that it would be vetoed over SNAP cuts.
We feel Cramer needs to take a lesson from Hoeven and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp in how to wield influence.
He needs to partner with the neighboring states of Montana, Minnesota and South Dakota on both sides of the aisle to make this work.
He needs to make the farm bill his No. 1 priority, whether it is pushing to reconsider the House version or passing the Senate version.
We agree with the state Democrats that Cramer’s seat as the only Congressman is vital to bills such as this, but he has a chance to redeem knocks on his leadership.
The bill and North Dakota farmers need Cramer to reach into his influence to sway his fellow House members and reach out for bipartisan support, if for no other reason but to show signs of life in the farm bill fight.
North Dakota voters have a history of electing candidates, not parties, and re-election is no guarantee for Cramer just because the vote is on his record.
They need to see real leadership, real influence and real fight in passing the farm bill.
Not just an under-whelming, uninspired “Yes” vote.