Sen. John Thune, Sen. Mike Rounds and Rep. Dusty Johnson attend a forum at Dakotafest in Mitchell on Aug. 16, 2023. (Joshua Haiar/South Dakota Searchlight)
MITCHELL — U.S. Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-South Dakota, received applause Wednesday at an agricultural trade show when he countered a call for more aggressive confrontation in politics.
An audience member at a Dakotafest forum on the farm bill asked why Johnson doesn’t attack his colleagues across the aisle with greater vehemence.
Johnson said being loud does not always produce results.
“Have we gotten everything done? No,” Johnson said. “But I gotta tell you, the loud guys, your Cory Bookers, your AOCs, your Rashida Tlaibs, your Ilhan Omars, they get nothing done.”
Afterward, he told South Dakota Searchlight he’d also include Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders on that list.
“I can tell you what,” he continued during the forum. “When it comes to South Dakotans choosing show horses or workhorses, I think they made the right pick.”
Johnson was with the rest of the state’s all-Republican congressional delegation discussing their work to pass a new farm bill.
Sen. John Thune also responded to the audience member’s question, saying, “If you have to tell people how tough you are, you maybe aren’t that tough.”
When it comes to South Dakotans choosing show horses or workhorses, I think they made the right pick.
– U.S. Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-South Dakota
Sen. Mike Rounds told South Dakota Searchlight afterward that he often meets South Dakotans who are fed up with not feeling heard by their federal government.
“And they want someone to yell at the top of their lungs, ‘You have to stop it,’” Rounds said. “What we find, as people working in Washington who want to get results, is that sometimes those results require you to work with other people.
“But when you scream at them, you don’t necessarily get them to come to your way of thinking. In fact, they simply harden themselves.”
One of the South Dakota delegation’s next opportunities to put their non-combative approach to work is on the farm bill. Talks are underway to replace the existing multi-year bill.
That 2018 law expires Sept. 30, just as other priorities will be competing for floor time in Congress — namely the government funding bills that, if not passed by Oct. 1, could mean a partial government shutdown.
The farm bill covers farmer safety net programs, conservation and sustainability incentives, international trade, rural development, and food and nutrition programs for low-income earners — the last of which by far accounts for the largest portion of the bill. The legislation is one of Congress’ omnibus packages, meaning it’s made of numerous provisions from many lawmakers.
Staff working on the respective House and Senate agriculture committees expect a roughly $1.5 trillion farm bill price tag over the next decade.
The Senate returns to work in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 5. The House returns Sept. 12.
— States Newsroom’s D.C. Bureau contributed to this report.
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