Jim Baird column sig

As we begin the 117th Congress, I want to take a moment and share how I will continue to work for you in Washington and at home.

Committee assignments

Within House Committees is where most policy details are vetted and debated. This is where legislation is written and formed before being sent to the floor for a vote. In the 117th Congress, I will continue to serve on the House Agriculture Committee and the Science, Space & Technology Committee. I look forward to continuing my work on these important committees.

Last Congress, I was proud to lead the Building Blocks of STEM Act being signed into law and assist in the creation of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. In the next two years, I hope to address unfinished business that will help Hoosier farmers and advance scientific education at institutions like Purdue University.

I will provide substantive input on drafting the new farm bill, advance legislation that will strengthen our food supply chain, increase resources for STEM education, prioritize the advancement of our nation’s space program, and counter the growing threat from the Chinese Communist Party in the fields of research and agriculture.

In addition to serving on these committees, I was appointed a ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research. This position will allow me the opportunity to showcase how our district is a powerhouse in agriculture production and research, and how we can be a model for similar communities.

The role of ranking member affords me the ability to lead and shape policy impacting the agricultural research industry in our country. As a farmer and scientist, I am proud to be an agricultural leader in the House of Representatives, and I look forward to leveraging my expertise to pursue sound science and risk-based policy to benefit America’s farmers.

COVID-19 Relief

As our nation works to defeat and recover from COVID-19, there will be a need for targeted relief in which Congress should help provide. Unfortunately, President Biden and Democrats in Congress are trying to push a partisan $1.9 trillion COVID package that will hamper our recovery.

I’m opposed to this partisan legislation because it is unclear at this time if Congress needs to spend an additional $1.9 trillion when we just passed a $900 billion COVID package in December.

It also doesn’t make sense to spend another $2 trillion when there already remains $1 trillion in unspent pandemic assistance that Congress appropriated. Let’s first spend that money, and then we can assess whether further assistance is necessary.

Since the start of the pandemic, Congress passed several bipartisan bills that accumulate to $4 trillion in COVID relief. I was proud to vote for these bills because they were focused on helping those in need. These bills provided direct assistance to Americans, small business loans, and resources for state and local governments to help protect our schools and the record pace development of multiple vaccines.

The current proposed bill includes a variety of partisan provisions that have little to do with the pandemic. For example, Democrats are trying to pass a national $15 minimum wage, which the Congressional Budget Office said would destroy more jobs than the number of Americans it would lift out of poverty. The jobs lost would primarily be from small businesses.

This would be catastrophic, since many small businesses are still trying to recover from the consequences of the pandemic. The last thing Congress should do is pass legislation that would hurt small businesses.

I’m not opposed to additional pandemic assistance. I voted for the additional $1,400 direct assistance in December and would be willing to do so again, on the condition that the bill wasn’t attached to partisan provisions. I stand ready to pass temporary and targeted assistance for those who are still being impacted by this virus.

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