Wisconsin House members split over their support of the $867 billion farm bill, which is now heading to the president’s desk after clearing the chamber.
The bill, which passed 369-47, authorizes agriculture assistance and nutrition programs for the next five years. But it doesn’t include stricter work requirements for food stamps pushed by House Republicans and President Trump.
The state’s Democratic and Republican representatives were largely divided over the legislation. In all, two GOP congressmen — Sean Duffy and Glenn Grothman — joined U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Town of Vermont, to support it.
Meanwhile, Republican U.S. Reps. Mike Gallagher and Jim Sensenbrenner, as well as Democrat Ron Kind, opposed it.
Kind, D-La Crosse, slammed the bill in a statement following the vote, saying it “maintains the failed status quo” by continuing to support ballooning crop insurance programs and unnecessary subsidies while doing “nothing to address the damage caused by the President’s trade war.”
The office of Sensenbrenner, R-Menomonee Falls, didn’t return a request for comment, but a statement from Gallagher, R-Green Bay, said the bill should have prioritized workforce stability and creating a more favorable trade environment to fix “the real issues” farmers are facing.
Neither U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, nor Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, voted. Ryan rarely does due to his leadership role.
Still, Ryan praised the legislation in a statement, saying it “provides relief and certainty to guard against the volatility of the agricultural economy” and includes language to bolster rural families’ access to broadband and alleviate poverty.
Wisconsin lawmakers were also split in the Senate. There, U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, voted to back the legislation while U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, opposed it. It ultimately passed 87-13.
Johnson complained nearly 80 percent of the spending in the bill was directed to the food stamp program, while Baldwin lauded the provisions she’s pushed for that were included in the bill, namely money for local health resources and suicide prevention programs for those who work in agriculture.
This article originally appeared in WisPolitics' weekly wrap up on December 13.