Eight Republican members of the U.S. House Agriculture Committee have sent a formal letter to committee Chairman David Scott (D-Ga.) urging him to support bipartisanship ahead of this week’s congressional reconciliation process. Reconciliation is a way for legislation to move forward on Capitol Hill with a simple majority, avoiding the threat of a filibuster. Because both major parties have 50 Senate seats, Democratic Vice President Kamala Harris’ voting power will play a key role in how both chambers settle upon this cycle’s budget legislation.
At issue is a $3.5 trillion package of domestic spending and tax breaks, as well as an impending infrastructure measure.
The House Agriculture Committee (made up of 27 Democrats and 24 Republicans) is expected to begin considering a proposal over reconciliation instructions midday Monday.
The letter from the GOP leaders to Scott said that the Republican members were left out of the previous reconciliation process, which was in “stark contrast” to Scott’s pledges of party inclusion. They also noted that, since then, Scott had “demonstrated leadership in building bipartisan consensus to advance important policies on broadband and disaster programs. It is, therefore, incredibly disheartening we find ourselves here yet again. …
“We fear the reputation of this Committee has been tarnished by the actions of Speaker Pelosi and others in the Democrat leadership. It seems as though the days we come together for the common good of rural America are now few and far between. Instead, this Committee is being held hostage by party leaders who have zero interest in protecting the farmers, ranchers, and foresters that feed, clothe, and fuel this great nation,” the letter stated.
The letter — signed by Reps. Glenn Thompson, Rick Crawford, Austin Scott, Doug LaMalfa, Don Bacon, Dusty Johnson, James Baird, and Michelle Fischbach — cautioned Chairman Scott against supporting a process that lacks oversight, transparency, and collaboration.
“When our Committee is working together in a collaborative and bipartisan manner, things get done for rural America,” it said. “We call on you to acknowledge the unjust stranglehold your Leadership has on this Committee, allow for an open and transparent business meeting, report the bill unfavorably, and return the Committee’s focus to the important work of protecting and
promoting rural America and our nation’s agricultural sector.”