Apparently the Farm Bill, which is opposed by just about anyone who has been paying attention, is actually quite popular among members of Congress. Although the bill does almost nothing to address growing concerns over the U.S. agricultural subsidies system that rewards wealthy farmers and tilts the food market in favor of cheap, unhealthy junk food, it managed to pass both the House and Senate with overwhelming, veto-proof majorities.
I’m pretty impressed with Open Congress’ work on documenting the legislation and its roll through congress. Their roll call of the Senate, for example, makes it easy to see which, if any, of the senators might have principles. Here’s the shockingly small list of senators who opposed the bill:
- Sen. Robert Bennett [R, UT]
- Sen. Thomas Coburn [R, OK]
- Sen. Susan Collins [R, ME]
- Sen. Jim DeMint [R, SC]
- Sen. Pete Domenici [R, NM]
- Sen. John Ensign [R, NV]
- Sen. Judd Gregg [R, NH]
- Sen. Charles Hagel [R, NE] — who has stated that he will resign from the Senate in 2009 and has been mentioned as a possible cross-party VP pick for Obama.
- Sen. Jon Kyl [R, AZ]
- Sen. Richard Lugar [R, IN]
- Sen. Lisa Murkowski [R, AK]
- Sen. John Reed [D, RI]
- Sen. John Sununu [R, NH]
- Sen. George Voinovich [R, OH]
- Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse [D, RI] — who replaced Republican Lincoln Chafee in the 2006.
Interesting patterns here: the only two Democrats to oppose the bill were both from Rhode Island. Other than that, the backwoods northeast (NH, ME) and the southwest (AZ, NM, NE) are highly represented.
All three senators still in the presidential race abstained, as did Ted Kennedy, who just suffered from a seizure.