Why don’t Johnson and Sensenbrenner like you?

In what should have been no brainer legislation, our US Congress once again played political brinksmanship with House bill HR 4348, not passing it until just days before the affected programs expired. The combined bill (why can’t we actually do bills that cover only a single topic or at least related topics after all the promises by both parties to do so?) funds infrastructure improvements that support 2.7 million construction jobs nationally, the extension of student loan interest supports at the 3.4% level, and renewal of the National Flood Insurance programs.

All worthwhile and relatively non-controversial subjects. The bill passed the House 373-52 and the Senate 92-4! Remarkably bi-partisan support in an election year…which should indicate that the voters support these programs and to vote against them could have negative consequences at the polls in November.

But according to the weekly feature in The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Congress: Following the Vote, two intrepid Wisconsin legislators feel comfortable bucking the trend.

In the house, the only WI Congressman voting against the bill? No it wasn’t Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI 1st). It was Rep Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI 5th)…apparently his constituents have all of the roads they need, are all gainfully employed and have children in college on full scholarships or can pay out of pocket…I kinda doubt it. And hopefully his constituents won’t forget in November.

And the ONE of only four Senators? Rookie Senator Ron Johnson (R). I am betting he expects everyone to forget he voted against the best interests of his state by the time he comes up for re-election.


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11 thoughts on “Why don’t Johnson and Sensenbrenner like you?

  1. While I have no love for Johnon or Sensenbrenner, what frustrates me more than the brinksmanship is the lack of coverage of the fact that the GOP succeeded in stripping funding for Bicycling and Walking, and froze transit spending at 2009 levels, while at the same time, dipping into the general federal fund to the tune of $15 billion over the next two years to bolster the highway trust fund. This, when levels of bicycling, walking, and transit use are up and studies show the next generation is less into driving while at the same time, total vehicle miles travelled has been dropping. And what is more, the only bicycle funding not zeroed out at the state level in Wisconsin in 2011 came from federal Transportation Enhancement funding, which has now been cut 60-70%, and more destructively, can be easily redirected into Scott Walkers highway expansions.
    So while it may be productive to make political hay out of the fact that two GOP officeholders voted against highways, this misses the fact that the house GOP just nuked funding for wanted alternatives to those highways.

  2. As one of his (newly redistricted) constituents, it is very safe to say that Sensenbrenner can serve the rest of his life in Congress if he wants. It’s probably the safest district in the state. And that’s a shame. He is a thoroughly unlikeable person.

  3. When Feingold did stuff like this it was called “mavericky.”

      1. Whether you consider the Patriot Act infrastructure or not is debatable, but that’s what I thought of. He voted against an overwhelming bipartisan bill and was lauded by many for doing so.

        That’s not to say it’s the same thing – I don’t know anything about Johnson’s rationale & whether it comes from a stand on some principle or what, but at least there are some similarities.

        1. Although the Patriot Act was certainly a bi-partisan act of momentous import on a number of different levels…I still applaud Russ Feingold for opposing it…it is hardly in the same category…HR 4348 is anything but groundbreaking legislation…just renewals of existing programs all set to expire today.

          1. I can’t say I necessarily disagree with either of you. I’d always said that I respected him for taking a stand there. No need to re-hash the specifics of that law (which I’d imagine we’d find a great deal of agreement). Unlike some of the other places later on where he got similar credit, that stand actually came with a cost (the un-American attacks, etc).

            But again, the point remains – that vote and others was a sign of independence with Feingold.

  4. I heard from a good source ( a lobbyist in DC) that Johnson voted no by mistake. He thought they asked him if he wanted anchovies on his pizza and he replied with a resounding “no”. Now he isn’t sure how to correct the error, or if he really should try anchovies.

  5. Considering the Wisconsin voting record of late, I might agree with Ron Johnson on forgetful voters.

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