My Point of View: Why would Rep. Finstad vote to shut down the USDA?

Published 8:45 pm Tuesday, March 5, 2024

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My Point of View by Joe Pacovsky

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives returned from a two-week vacation at the last minute to vote on a short-term funding extension to temporarily avoid costly government shutdowns.

Joe Pacovsky

With bipartisan support, the March 1 shutdown has been delayed until March 8. The department funding originally expiring March 8 is delayed until March 22. This manufactured, ongoing budget crisis is wholly owned by the failing Republican leadership in the House.

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The appropriations bill expiring March 1, included funding for Agriculture, Energy-Water, military construction-VA and Transportation-HUD. These are all vital to our economy, particularly agriculture in our area. Crop prices continue to decline, putting family farms in peril. USDA’s Economic Research Service projects a reduction of $43 billion in farm income in 2024. USDA needs to be continuously funded to serve our area farmers.

Unfortunately, our 1st District Rep. Finstad voted against the bill, including the one-week extension for agriculture.

We have a broken immigration system, and the southern border needs to be secured. The Senate passed bipartisan immigration legislation that was the most far-reaching legislation in decades. Trump told the Republican House leadership to not pass the legislation so he could have immigration as a campaign issue. In blind servility, Mike Johnson, Speaker of the House, won’t even bring this bill to a floor vote in the House.

Is the border a crisis or not? This Republican behavior is akin to raging about a fire burning out of control while simultaneously blocking firefighters from bringing in extra water to contain it.

The Senate bill also contains additional U.S. funding for Ukraine. Current funding has run out while Putin’s brutal assault on Ukraine continues. Russia’s aggression has resulted in millions of Ukrainians becoming refugees in other countries. Russia has purposely targeted civilians across Ukraine and injured, tortured and killed thousands. Russia has kidnapped thousands of Ukrainian children and transported them to Russia for reeducation. Russia has looted and plundered Ukrainian property.

These are war crimes.

Ukrainians have fought valiantly and inflicted massive damage on the Russian war machine. The United States and our NATO allies have provided military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine so they can defend themselves. They have fought alone without NATO soldiers intervening on the ground. Ukrainian soldiers are fighting to protect not just themselves but also other democracies near and abroad, including our own.

Again, the Senate approved aid for Ukraine, but Trump told the Republican House leadership not to approve aid for Ukraine, and they blocked the bill, even though it has enough votes to pass, and the majority of voters support it.

Russia has threatened Poland and the Baltic countries, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. Putin has even stated that the sale of Alaska to the United States was illegal. In a speech last month Trump invited his friend, Putin, to attack NATO countries. This statement is a bald departure from American values.

For Rep. Finstad to put his slavish subservience to Trump above the interests of our local farmers and the broader interest of democracy is completely unacceptable. We deserve better representation.

Joe Pacovsky is a member of the Freeborn County DFL Party.