(1/29/14) Wisconsin Republican Jim Sensenbrenner joined the state's three Democrats this morning in voting against the new federal Farm Bill.
Sensenbrenner, of Menomonee Falls, was among 63 Republicans voting no -- many of whom were upset that a proposed cut in food stamps was only one-fifth of what many in the G-O-P wanted. Still, the 100-billion-dollar-a-year package of federal farm programs passed the G-O-P-controlled House 251-to-166. It now goes to the Senate. The food stamp cut was smaller than what Democrats were seeking -- and Wisconsin's Mark Pocan, Gwen Moore, and Ron Kind were among 103 Democrats voting no. Kind also feared that subsidy payments would be bigger than expected, and he said the new package did not stop billionaires from getting government subsidies. Republican House Agriculture Committee chairman Frank Lucas called the compromise a "miracle" after more than two years of setbacks. The House speaker said it was good enough -- and Wisconsin Republicans Paul Ryan, Sean Duffy, Reid Ribble, and Tom Petri went along. For Wisconsin dairy farmers, the bill replaces direct price supports with a margin insurance program that grants payouts when margins fall below various levels in policies to be purchased by individual farmers.