Does Noem Know the Rules of the Road?

Can Congresswoman Noem protect South Dakota’s interests in the US Congress if she doesn’t care to learn congressional rules?

That’s the question Ben Nesselhuf, Chairman of the South Dakota Democratic Party, asked after Noem prided her willful ignorance of Washington’s rules of the road in today’s USA Today article highlighting prominent Tea Party freshmen in Congress.

“During the time Congresswoman Noem hasn’t learned the rules, Republican leadership eliminated incentives for South Dakota’s ethanol industry and gutted flood mitigation and response programs for South Dakota’s local communities,” Nesselhuf pointed out. “Astonishingly, this is despite the fact that she is one of two freshmen of the Republican class who serve as liaison to House Republican leadership.”

In today’s USA Today interview of top Tea Party freshmen, Noem cited her unconcern to learn how Washington works. “I haven’t worried too much about learning the ropes,” Noem said.

Noem’s unconcern to learn has already hurt South Dakota, Nesselhuf said. “If Noem isn’t following the rules of the road that protect South Dakota’s families and farmers, whose rules is she following?”

After Noem joined House Republican leadership to slash funding for the ethanol industry, South Dakotan’s are wondering whether she’ll be able to protect South Dakota’s farmers in the forthcoming 2012 farm bill. Noem is the first South Dakota congressperson since South Dakota became an at-large district who has not had a seat on the House Agriculture Committee.

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Background:

Tea Party Freshmen Absorb Shock of DC
USA TODAY interviewed Noem and other Tea Party-supported freshmen in Congress to gauge how they were transitioning from their 2010 campaigns, where they promised to change Washington, to actual governing in D.C… “I haven’t worried too much about learning the ropes,” said Noem, a rancher in South Dakota, during a recent House session. “In the past, that has been something that maybe has tripped up new members. It’s good to come up here and understand the process, but we need to make sure that we are doing it our own way.” [USA TODAY, 5.18.11]

Amendments to C.R 1. eliminating support for ethanol industry
An amendment numbered 377 printed in the Congressional Record to prohibit the use of funds for the construction of an ethanol blender pump or an ethanol storage facility. An amendment numbered 94 printed in the Congressional Record to prohibit the use of funds in the decision of the Administrator of the EPA entitled “Partial Grant of Clean Air Act Waiver Application Submitted by Growth Energy to Increase the Allowable Ethanol Content of Gasoline to 15 percent. [U.S House of Representatives, 2.18.11]

Noem spokesman defends budget cuts
“Joshua Shields, her spokesman, noted that she cited the House Republicans’ original spending proposal during her interview with The Daily Republic. ‘Rep. Noem supported $61 billion in specific cuts when she voted for H.R. 1, which is $61 billion more than Democrats have identified,’ he said in a statement. [Mitchell Daily Republic, 4.1.11]

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