Cramer talks farm bill progress, ‘rocketship economy’

MOORHEAD - Rep. Kevin Cramer stopped by Moorhead's Hjemkomst Center on Thursday, Aug. 2, to discuss several hot-button legislative topics. The Republican and lone member of the U.S. House from North Dakota met up with members of the Fargo Moorhea...

MOORHEAD – Rep. Kevin Cramer stopped by Moorhead’s Hjemkomst Center on Thursday, Aug. 2, to discuss several hot-button legislative topics.

The Republican and lone member of the U.S. House from North Dakota met up with members of the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce to update them on a variety of issues now being discussed by Congress, including the farm bill, economic growth, tariffs, the Fargo-Moorhead Diversion project and national defense appropriations.

Cramer is running against Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., for her spot on the Senate.

One of the major points he brought up Thursday was the status of the new farm bill, which he said he hopes will be done by the end of September, when the current farm bill is set to expire.

Cramer said the farm bill is headed to a conference committee where senators and representatives will negotiate between the House and Senate versions of the bill and come up with a final version, which will then be voted on by both chambers.

The bill includes everything from commodity supports to nutrition assistance and exports.

In addition, Cramer talked about recent economic growth and said rolling back national regulations and taxes has helped prompt a surge in growth.

“We are in a rocketship economy,” Cramer said.

He outlined a House appropriations bill that includes $180 million in funding for flood control construction across the nation. While the money isn’t directly for the Fargo-Moorhead Diversion, Cramer said the proposal is eligible for the funding.

On trade deals and tariffs, Cramer said there have been positive negotiations with the European Union. He pointed to the recent EU announcement that it would buy more soybeans from the U.S. as a good sign of progress.

He said negotiations with Japan have started, while negotiations with Britain will begin in 2019 once the country is officially out of the EU.

Cramer also brought up the National Defense Authorization Act, signed into law in December 2017, which provides $717 billion to national defense. He said $32 million of that will go to the North Dakota Army National Guard for a readiness center in Fargo that will serve as a training location.

Cramer said the defense act also provides about $170 million for modifications to the MQ-9 Reaper, a drone flown by the North Dakota Air National Guard.