The inherent problem with fiscally conservative legislators is that they decry wasteful government spending, yet have to fight to get much-needed federal dollars into their districts.
The latest specific example of that is Republican Kristi Noem from South Dakota, whose district was hit with a catastrophic winter storm that has ravaged the cattle-raising community.
According to The Washington Post, “it’s still too early to know the full extent of the losses to South Dakota’s ranchers,” but “early figures from the head of the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association suggest that 5 percent of the area’s 1.5 million cattle have been killed.”
Rep. Noem was part of the coalition of Republicans who refused to fund the government unless Obamacare was defunded. Yet, a week after the government shut down, a blizzard with hurricane-force wind gusts caught ranchers by surprise and left cattle literally stuck in the mud and ultimately led to their freezing to death.
On the floor of the House last week, Rep. Noem told her colleagues about a rancher who “found what he called the trail of death, about 200 of his 600 cows were dead leading up to and throughout the draw.”
Again from The Washinton Post, “South Dakota is especially reliant on federal funding since it doesn’t have a personal or a corporate income tax,” and one of the lowest state sales’ taxes in the country. Also, because of the shutdown, the US Department of Agriculture offices where ranchers could both file claims on their lost cattle and receive assistance payments from government farm subsidies.
However government spending, specifically farm subsidies, have been painted as wasteful government spending, but Rep. Noem is asking the government to increase the livestock indemnity program, which acts as insurance for ranchers. Naturally, her critics say her position inconsistent with her fiscally-conservative persona.