While Mr. Powers makes himself look busy posting video of Kristi Noem doing what she said she didn't go to Washington to do, farmers eagerly await our Congresswoman's delivery of real legislation, the 2012 Farm Bill. My friends at SD Dems HQ remind me that, while I was way, Mr. Montgomery wrote an interesting piece saying the farm bill is Rep. Noem's "first huge legislative moment":

If the farm bill passes, she can claim it as a legitimate triumph. If it goes down in this Congress' increasingly typical dysfunction, she won't be able to dodge the blame.

...Issues like this are why Noem said being on the House Republican leadership team as a representative of freshmen Republicans was a good thing — to bring a South Dakota perspective to leadership deliberations.

Noem says she's had "many" conversations with Boehner and a few with Majority Leader Eric Cantor on the farm bill, urging them to bring it to a vote.

So far, nothing [emphasis in original; David Montgomery, "On the Farm Bill, It's Noem's Turn," Political Smokeout, 2012.07.20].

Rep. Noem got 75+ colleagues, GOP and Dem, to sign a letter to the House leadership telling them to bring the farm bill to a vote. As of this afternoon, this letter hasn't budged Speaker Boehner, whose obstruction of the budget-cutting farm bill in the middle of a drought (hey, how about that tiny little sprinkle we had this morning?) is unprecedented:

Whatever its flaws, the bill promises $35 billion in 10-year savings from exactly the type of mandatory spending that Congress promised to tackle in last summer's debt accord. But rather than disrupt its political messaging, the GOP would put it all at risk by delaying action until after the November elections.

Never before in modern times has a farm bill reported from the House Agriculture Committee been so blocked. POLITICO looked back at 50 years of farm bills and found nothing like this. There have been long debates, often torturous negotiations with the Senate and a famous meltdown in 1995 when the House Agriculture Committee couldn't produce a bill. But no House farm bill, once out of committee, has been kept off the floor while its deadline passes [David Rogers, "Congress Delays Farm Bill as Drought Spreads," Politico, 2012.07.23].

This obstructionism is fine with hard-right conservatives like Daniel Horowitz, who says Rep. Noem is supporting "Soviet-style intervention" in the agriculture industry:

Put simply, the farm bill is an anathema to free enterprise, limited government, and individual responsibility. The House version (H.R. 6083) authorizes $957 billion in spending over 10 years, 80% of which will go towards food stamps. Despite erroneous claims in the media regarding severe cuts to food stamps, this bill actually consummates the Obama-era baseline into our entitlement empire forever.

Furthermore, this bill adds an additional 3 crop insurance and price support programs that distort the market, encourage risky behavior, protect parochial interests, and are tendentious towards large farms. This bill also continues the egregious coddling of rich sugar farmers and the dairy supply regulations that you so aptly referred to as "Soviet style" [Daniel Horowitz, "Mr. Speaker, Tear up This Farm Bill," RedState, 2012.07.19].

There is the faint possibility that, given the harsh critiques of this farm bill from left and right, Rep. Noem is pushing a tolerable compromise. But whatever the merits of the bill, if Rep. Noem says she wants it, but then can't marshal her influence as freshman liaison to move the Speaker and her colleagues toward a vote and passage while farmers watch their corn dry up in the heat, she'll have some hard explaining to do.