Trade dominates U.S. House debate

Grand Forks attorney Mac Schneider (left), a Democrat who served in the Senate from 2009 to 2016,  and State Sen. Kelly Armstrong, R-Dickinson, exchanged barbs Tuesday night, Sept. 11, in a live broadcast on Prairie Public Broadcasting. 

Check the record, Kelly Armstrong and Mac Schneider often insisted Tuesday, Sept. 11.

North Dakota’s candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives continued challenging each other on issues including trade. State Sen. Armstrong, R-District 36, faces former state Sen. Schneider, D-District 42, for what would be either man’s first two-year term in Congress.

“I have consistently opposed the administration’s trade policies, because I understand what they are,” Schneider said. “That’s a threat to our export markets, a threat to the profitability of family farmers in our state and really a threat to North Dakota’s economy.”

Saying it’s been around 11 weeks since there’s been an order for soybeans from the Pacific Northwest, Schneider called the situation “short-term pain for long-term pain.”

Armstrong said it was untrue for Schneider to call him a supporter of “trade policies that have tanked our markets.”

“I’ve been on record since the beginning of this campaign saying North Dakota is a commodity-based economy and tariffs do not benefit North Dakota,” Armstrong continued. “What I will say is that I support the administration working to negotiate better trade deals for not just this generation, but future generations.”

Real economic pain is coming nationwide in the next 18-36 months, Armstrong said. He called for a coalition to put pressure on the administration for quick negotiation of trade deals.

Now that the administration’s policies are unpopular, Schneider countered, Armstrong is changing his tune.

“North Dakota’s member of Congress — our state can’t afford to have that member speak out of both sides of his mouth,” Schneider said.

Armstrong reiterated that he’s said since day one that tariffs are not a solution.

Stenehjem questioned for no answers

“The future of health in North Dakota should not be determined in a Texas court,” said former U.S. Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D.

North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, R-N.D., continuing to be involved in a multi-state lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act has Pomeroy concerned. The concern grows, ACA supporters say, because Stenehjem has not been forthcoming about why North Dakota is involved or his office’s current role in the lawsuit.

“Wayne Stenehjem is neglecting his duties as Attorney General by not answering questions about a literal life-or-death issue for tens of thousands of North Dakotans,” said David Thompson, D-N.D., running against Stenehjem.

All questions related to the federal lawsuit are being referred to Texas, the High Plains Reader reported earlier in September.

Stenehjem was one of several Republican leaders at an August press conference about the Affordable Care Act.

“Before Obamacare, 8-10 percent of North Dakotans were uninsured,” the North Dakota Republican Party stated. “Today, that number remains relatively unchanged at 8 percent, demonstrating how Obamacare has failed in the state.”

Armstrong, who attended the conference, made a similar comment while debating Schneider.

Pomeroy has spent the election season speaking on behalf of Dakotans for Health. The group is calling for maintaining provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

Kavanaugh vote likely before month’s end

North Dakota’s Senate candidates, meanwhile, are weighing in on the process of confirming Judge Brett Kavanaugh as a Supreme Court justice.

“The questioning has been tough, but I’m going to watch and monitor, looking at the full body of the hearings,” incumbent Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., said previously.

Heitkamp’s answer isn’t good enough for incumbent Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D. He called on her to announce that she will vote in support of Kavanaugh.

“We all know this will be her inevitable decision, and an overwhelming number of North Dakotans agree that Judge Kavanaugh has earned confirmation,” Cramer said.

The Senate Judiciary Committee scheduled a Thursday, Sept. 13 vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination, NBC News reported. With the likelihood of the committee’s vote being delayed until the week of Monday, Sept. 17, it is assumed the full Senate will vote on confirmation during the week of Monday, Sept. 24.

Cramer and Heitkamp are scheduled for three debates in October. Both are running for a six-year Senate term. It would be her second or his first.

With midterm elections in less than 55 days, look to Daily News Media for updated coverage of North Dakota and Minnesota’s campaigns, candidates and items under consideration.

Load comments