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Wisconsin's two U.S. Senators split vote in compromise Farm Bill

WASHINGTON D.C. (WTAQ) - U.S. Senator Ron Johnson said he couldn't stomach all the spending for food stamps in the new Farm Bill -- and that's why he voted against it.

President Obama is expected to sign the five-year package of farm programs and food aid that received final congressional approval Tuesday with a 68-32 Senate vote.

Wisconsin Democrat Tammy Baldwin approved the Farm Bill.

Johnson, Wisconsin's other senator, was among 23 Republicans who voted no.

Food stamps represent about 80 percent of the Farm Bill's $100 billion a year price tag, and Johnson said they should have been considered separately. He also questioned what he called the program's "exponential growth" since the 1970's.

Johnson said only five percent of Americans received food stamps when the aid was first linked to the Farm Bill.  Now, one of every seven Americans get food stamps -- and Johnson says the cost to taxpayers has doubled twice since 2001.

The compromise package cuts food stamps by one percent -- a-fifth of what the House originally wanted.

Many direct payments were cut in the new package, including price supports for Wisconsin dairy farmers. Instead, they'll get a new margin insurance program. It grants payouts when margins fall below various levels in policies to be purchased by individual farmers.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)